HoVRS' User Stories
Research into Stroke and Virtual Rehabilitation
Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability. Every year, over 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. Predictions show this number will increase every year, as the average age of first time stroke patients becomes younger. One of the most essential functions to recover after a stroke is finger, hand, and arm function, but it is also the hardest to regain. An estimated cumulative 4.6 million people in the US are living with upper extremity impairments due to stroke. After a stroke, patients need a high volume of intense hand rehabilitation in order to facilitate neuroplasticity and recover motor function. Unfortunately, due to socioeconomic restrictions and care structure in the US, there is a limitation on the quality and quantity of rehabilitation stroke survivors will receive.
Our head of research, Dr. Qiu, in collaboration with NJIT’s Neuromotor Behavior and Neurorehabilitation Engineering Lab, has been dedicated to improving stroke rehabilitation for more than 15 years by studying upper extremity rehabilitation in patients post stroke using robotic and virtual reality technologies. Their large robotic/VR rehabilitation system (RAVR) has been used in numerous research studies in the laboratory and clinics, and has been demonstrated to be a very effective system. Upon completion of the studies, many subjects asked if there was a similar but smaller system that they could use at home. Although digital Telehealth/rehab is widespread for psychological or cognitive visits, there is little available offering remote supervised physical rehabilitation with built in tracking specific to the hands and fingers. This inspired the team to begin working on a remote way to deliver therapy in the patients’ homes. Our goal is for therapists to be able to integrate our remote solution into their exercise regimens in the field.
NeurotechR3, Inc. has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for $256,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on a telerehabilitation device that promotes neuroplasticity for motor recovery through video games, and helps stroke patients recover function in their fingers, hand and arm.
This work will take goal based games that have been demonstrated to be successful for stroke rehabilitation in the laboratory and acute rehabilitation hospitals and apply them on a smaller scale to develop an affordable, engaging, and easy to use system. It has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people suffering from impairments after stroke, and contribute to the overall improvement of human health and wellbeing