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Posted: 11/21/2012
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Digital Cloud Technologies Software Firm Develops App Using Kinect Plus Modern UI to Help Stroke Victims Recover

When doctors treating stroke victims in the Ukraine wanted to build a game to facilitate physical therapy exercises using the Microsoft Kinect for Windows sensor, DCT created Revival Health. DCT used Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Service to take advantage of the latest programming technologies available in Microsoft .NET 4.5 to develop the solution quickly. Revival Health is helping patients complete their rehabilitation process faster.

Business Needs

The rehabilitation process for stroke victims can be long and tedious. They often have to re-learn basic body movements, such as lifting their limbs, through repetitive physical therapy. Many experts agree that carefully directed, well-focused, repetitive practice is key to any health rehabilitation program.

* By using Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Service, we completed the project about 30 percent faster than we had planned.  *

Sergii Lutai
Head of Mobile Application Development
Digital Cloud Technologies

This therapy usually begins within two days after a stroke occurs, while the patient is still in the hospital. A common problem is that the simple, repetitive therapy exercises that are essential to the recovery process are not very interesting to the patients, and doctors and physical therapists often find it difficult to keep the patients focused.

Recently, doctors working at a clinic for stroke victims in the Ukraine saw a demonstration of some games for the Microsoft Kinect for Windows. The games used the Kinect sensor to detect the movements of players and incorporate them into the action of the game. The doctors thought a Kinect game might be helpful to make the rehabilitation process more enjoyable and therefore more effective for patients. The doctors turned to Digital Cloud Technologies (DCT), an IT development company well known in the Ukraine for its use of innovative technologies like Kinect.


DCT strives to create innovative products using the very latest Microsoft technologies. Its developers specialize in creating projects for cloud applications for Web and mobile clients, Microsoft Windows 8 apps, and applications using the Microsoft Kinect for Windows sensor.

DCT created a game called Revival Health with 3-D avatars that match patients’ movements during physical therapy. Revival Health has specific goals or actions that occur when patients move correctly. For instance, they may lift their hands to flip on a light switch or lift their leg to break a rock into pieces. Because Revival Health turns exercises into a game with immediate feedback, patients are more interested in their therapy.

Revival Health collects a video of patients’ efforts and a wealth of data about the speed and range of movements performed. These data are analyzed to measure patient improvement. The doctor controls the goals to match challenges to patients’ abilities.

DCT knew developing the game would be complex. The game runs on a PC and receives input from the Kinect for Windows sensor. The game also sends video and statistical information to a cloud service that stores the information and produces patient reports on the data. Doctors use a separate client application as a management console to control the game and analyze results. DCT created a version of the management console for Windows 7 computers and a version for Windows 8, which uses the Windows Modern UI touch interface.

Writing the game code

Because Revival Health was a complex development effort, DCT decided to upgrade to Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 to develop the application and implement Team Foundation Service to manage the project. With Visual Studio 2012, developers could take advantage of .NET 4.5 capabilities with improved support for asynchronous programming and improvements to the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) designer and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) designer.

DCT needed to use asynchronous programming to provide a live interface for the game and for the touch interface for the Windows 8 app. In the past, DCT found asynchronous programming required the creation of a lot of code, wrappers, and extensions. With .NET 4.5, creating asynchronous code was a different story. “With .NET 4.5, we can write code directly. We found it so easy we used asynchronous code on the server side where it really wasn’t essential,” says Sergii Lutai, Head of Mobile Application Development at Digital Cloud Technologies.

Visual Studio also provided a lot of useful code snippets that DCT incorporated into the application. “We used a lot of new snippets for things such as property generation or dependencies, and we saved a lot of time by using them,” says Lutai.

Developing the UI

DCT was building applications for both Windows 7 and Windows 8, and it wanted to share code between them. DCT used the Visual Studio WPF designer for the Windows 7 client application and Expression Design for the user interface. It used a Windows Modern UI style for the application. When DCT then transitioned to Visual Studio Blend and Expression Blend for the Windows 8 app, it was able to reuse most of the code. “We knew that a touch interface would bring a lot of value to the application and were prepared to put in significant effort to add it,” says Lutai. “It was really satisfying when porting the application to Windows 8 with the Modern UI turned out to be easy.”

Improved Project Management

* With .NET 4.5, we can write asynchronous code directly. We found it so easy we used asynchronous code on the server side where it really wasn’t essential.  *

Sergii Lutai
Head of Mobile Application Development
Digital Cloud Technologies

Team Foundation Service provided the application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities that kept the project on track. Since Team Foundation Service is hosted in the cloud it is easy for team members to connect even from home. DCT also provided access to the doctors so they could create the user stories for the project.

DCT found it easy to set up the Scrum templates and use them to plan sprints. “The agile project planning and tracking interfaces provided with Team Foundation Service are really helpful to track the progress on each task and overall developer utilization,” says Lutai.

The development team set up continuous integration with gated check-ins to improve its build processes and ensure successful builds. Microsoft Test Manager was used to implement test processes and capture bugs. Stakeholders also used the Microsoft Feedback Client to provide feedback about the application while it was being developed.


DCT developed Revival Health quickly and efficiently because Visual Studio 2012 provided easy-to-use coding methods for the asynchronous code and touch interfaces. “By using Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Service, we completed the project about 30 percent faster than we had planned,” says Lutai.

Doctors using the application will benefit from the Windows 8 app, which gives them more flexibility. “Doctors can interact with the game through the app, so they can modify the difficulty of the exercises in the therapy room,” says Lutai. “Then they can take the tablet back to their offices to discuss the results with other doctors.”

The clinic in the Ukraine has had great success using Revival Health to help stroke patients speed their recovery and reduce the overall cost of their medical care. To help other clinics achieve similar success, DCT has made Revival Health available on its website for other clinics to download.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview

Organization Size: 40 employees

Organization Profile

Digital Cloud Technologies develops web and mobile applications using the latest Microsoft technologies. Located in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Digital Cloud Technologies was formed in 2010 and currently has 40 developers.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2012
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server

Vertical Industries
High Tech & Electronics