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'virtual Physiotherapist' Helps Paralyzed Patients Exercise Using Computer Games


A patient using the gripAble device.

Imperial College London researchers have developed a device to help paralyzed stroke victims regain some mobility by playing computer games.

Credit: Imperial College London

Researchers at the U.K.'s Imperial College London recently demonstrated the gripAble device, which enables paralyzed stroke patients to play computer games, boosting the proportion of patients able to direct movements on a PC tablet screen by 50% versus standard methods.

The device features a lightweight electronic handgrip that wirelessly interacts with the tablet to enable users to play arm-training games. Users squeeze, turn, or lift the handgrip, which vibrates in response to their gameplay.

The researchers note the device can detect the minuscule flicker movements of severely paralyzed patients and channel them into controlling the game.

They say gripAble enabled more than half of severely disabled patients to engage with arm-training software, whereas none of the patients could employ conventional control methods such as swiping and tapping on tablets and smartphones.

"The use of mobile gaming could provide a cost-effective and easily available means to improve the arm movements of stroke patients, but in order to be effective patients of all levels of disability should be able to access it," says Imperial College researcher Paul Bentley.

He notes the low-cost gripAble device will be developed further "so we can help more patients who are currently suffering from the effects of poor arm and upper body mobility."

From Imperial College London
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Abstracts Copyright © 2016 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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