A Low Cost Home Based System for Stroke Rehabilitation

This study was conducted by a multidisciplinary design team consisting of members from the Interactive Systems Research Group (Nottingham Trent University) in conjunction with specialists from the Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, Nottingham University. The website author’s responsibility within the study was the design and implementation of both the developed hardware and accompanying software solutions.

Research Objectives

Given the fact that most current stroke rehabilitation systems employ relatively sophisticated or expensive hardware and software, one question of paramount clinical importance is whether the benefits obtained from these systems can be achieved with less sophisticated affordable systems. The objective of this study is the development of a low cost home based system for stroke rehabilitation which would allow patients to practice the movements required for activities of daily living at the frequency required to promote recovery of functional movement.

Research Proposal

A systematic review of studies conducted by Nottingham University’s Stroke rehabilitation team found a significant improvement in upper limb motor function recovery within stroke survivors that were able to utilise robot-assisted therapy (see Standen P. J., et al., 2010), however such systems are expensive, require technical support and are hospital or laboratory based.

A proposed solution (Battersby S. , 2008) is the development of a low cost rehabilitation glove using the capacity of the Optical Sensor on the Nintendo Wii Controller to pick up the signal from four diodes placed at the patient’s fingertips. This compensates for the inability of previous low cost solutions to track fine motor movement.

Video 1: The Wii Glove was featured on BBC East Midlands Today

The expansion of typical Virtual Environment application areas such as computer gaming, simulation based training and academic research to include provision for those recovering from stroke has many potential benefits. In terms of the individual, such provision would act to empower and enable active participation in new forms of rehabilitation and exercise. Furthermore, stroke survivors with continuing impairment in their upper limb often find it difficult to access the early intensive, task specific practice that research has shown is necessary for motor recovery.

Although the commercially available gaming platforms lack in dedicated stroke rehabilitation software, hardware and performance metrics they often provide other equally important advantages such as mass acceptability, easily perceived feedback and most importantly affordability for unrestricted home use.

Publication and Citation Data

Original literature describing the study produced in conjunction with the website author can be found via the following references: Standen P. J., et al (2010), (Standen P., et al (2010), Standen, et al (2010). Foundational works for the design and development of the study can be found via Battersby (2008) and Battersby (2007).

index menu