Learning to make physical therapy entertaining
Every year more than 795,000 people in the US have a stroke, according to the Center for Disease Control. Even worse, strokes are the leading cause of long-term disability in the US, reducing mobility in more than half of stroke victims age 65 and up.
One of the primary ways to regain mobility lost due to a stroke is physical therapy, and Neofect, based in Burlingame, CA, is looking to use wearables to help make rehabilitation easier for those recovering.
Neofect’s solution is the Smart Glove, a wearable that almost feels like it drapes over your hand. You secure it to your wrist, with loops to hold each finger segment in place. It’s got a hub that houses a 9-axis movement and position sensor, while each of the Glove’s fingers has a flexible sensor that registers how much it’s being bent.
All of these sensors are used by the Rapael Smart Rehab Platform to help power a variety of gamified rehab exercises, and Wareable got a chance to take the whole thing for a spin.
Each exercise is aimed at improving a type of motor function your hand is capable of: forearm pronation, which is twisting your forearm back and forth; wrist extension, which is moving your wrist up and down; wrist radial, which is moving your wrist side to side; and finger flexion, which is being able to both squeeze and open your fist.
The exercises themselves are simple games with simple graphics. They’ll take you through a handful of routine tasks, like pouring wine or squeezing an orange or cooking an egg. The trick behind the Smart Rehab Platform, however, is that it learns as you’re going. The better you do, the more challenging it can make itself.
Image Credit: Neofect