Thursday, July 21, 2011

Robotic arm and videogames help stroke victims

Patients suffering from a stroke will be able to enhance their arm mobility using a portable robotic device and a software platform with videogames developed by FIK, a Basque business initiative that is researching disabilities.

The FIK ArmAssist platform consists of a mobile-based device connected to a user through an orthopedic brace that records and measures shoulder and elbow movements. A computer links arm movements with videogames (including puzzles, memory games, and solitaire) developed for exercising the upper limbs. These videogames help with range of motion, force, distance, and precision.

Rehabilitation involves a combination of exercises carried out in the hospital under medical supervision and a series of recommended exercises at home. “Tele-rehabilitation” software (included with ArmAssist) also links patients at home and therapists via an Internet connection, also allowing doctors to monitor their patients.

ArmAssist can be used by acute-phase patients, after having suffered a brain stroke, as well as chronic patients, for continuous training of the upper limbs for other kinds of disorders.

The ArmAssist project is currently based at the La Fe Hospital in Valencia, Spain, with the aim of determining the degree of satisfaction of patients who have suffered a brain stroke and have been admitted to this hospital.

Today 15 million persons throughout the world suffer from a stroke every year and 5 million are left with chronic disabilities.


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