Victoria University, New Zealand, masters student in engineering, Abigail Rajendran, 23, designed a stroke rehabilitation device and is working to market it. Rajendran believes that stroke patients will be able to rehabilitate themselves from home with the new device.
With the device strapped on to a patient’s hand the goal is to exercise it in an opening and closing motion. A connected computer game activates at the same time and keeps both sides of the brain working.
Once the patient regains the strength and can do the motion himself, he can increase the resistance with a special liquid contained in the device.
Rajendran says that until now, stroke patients had to rely on expensive and large rehabilitation equipment only found in hospitals. However this device could be used regularly at home.
Funding for a prototype has been provided by the Science and Innovation Ministry.
Few, if any, home rehabilitation instruments are available for people recovering from strokes and new technology has to be made available according to Chief executive Sunil Vather.
Apparently New Zealand stroke patients get only a few hours of therapy if they’re lucky and this device may afford them many more hours.
Miss Rajendran will present her idea in Singapore later this month, and in Brisbane in October. The device may be ready for use in about a year.
Apparently unknown to Miss Rajendran and her associates such physical therapy solutions already exist and are being used successfully in many leading U.S. and European and other hospitals and clinics. The physical therapy products known as the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR have been devised to allow intensive exercises to stroke victims as well as those afflicted with disabling Parkinson’s, MS, CP, brain/spinal cord injuries and other upper and lower limb paresis.
The TUTORs are comfortable ergonomically designed gloves and braces that are attached to the affected areas of the body and then connected to a computer that has dedicated software in the form of games. These games are played with the active initiation of the patient himself and the results are recorded and evaluated by physical therapists who then design a specific exercise program for that patient.
Since many patients have improved to the point where they no longer need hospitalization they and others who live too far from a rehabilitation clinic can avail themselves of the TUTORs at home through the use of telerehabilitation. In addition the TUTOR system is one of the most cost effective physical therapy products on the market today and they are small in relation to hospital based large equipment.