Wii Want to ... Train Surgeons

Doctors at Arizona seeing benefits from time spent with Nintendo console
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2008 4:34 PM CDT
Nintendo's popular Wii console is finding use among surgeons, who note improved performance when playing regularly.   (AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)
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(Newser) – Nintendo’s popular Wii console is finding new uses in the hands of surgeons. The Guardian takes a look at an Arizona hospital that's making use of the Wii’s precise, motion-sensitive controller to hone motor skills for more serious applications. In a program for doctors being trained to do minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, those who regularly played on the Wii scored 48% higher on tool control than those who didn't.

"The whole point about surgery is to execute small, finely controlled movements with your hands," explains one doctor. "Then we saw people using the Wii and noticed the precision of some movements looked very similar." So now it's assigned as homework. Not all games are equally beneficial, however: "You don't gain a lot from swinging an imaginary tennis racket.”