Robots for stroke rehabilitation

Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire and a team of European partners have developed a prototype of a robotic glove which stroke suffers can use in their own home to support rehabilitation and personal independence in receiving therapies. 

At the chronic stages of stroke, patients are not likely to be receiving treatment but they continue to live with some impairments - the glove’s goal is to provide therapies to target these impairments.

Over the past three years the team developed two prototype robotic gloves, which facilitate repetitive movement and exercise of the hand and wrist. The device also records the patient’s performance and sends this to a therapist for tailoring treatment remotely and arranging follow-up.

Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian, an expert in rehabilitation robotics and assistive technologies and a senior lecturer in adaptive systems at the University's School of Computer Science co-ordinated the €4,643,983 project called SCRIPT (Supervised Care and Rehabilitation Involving Personal Tele-robotics).

Dr Amirabdollahian said: “This project focused on therapies for stroke patients at home. Our goal was to make motivating therapies available to people to practise at home using this system, hoping that they have a vested interest to practise and will do so. We tried this system with 30 patients and found that patients indeed practised at home, on average around 100 minutes each week, and some showed clinical improvements in their hand and arm function”.

The overall aim of the project was to provide an educational, motivational and engaging interaction, making a more positive therapy session for the patient, while providing feedback to them and their health care professionals. Given the results achieved, the team is now considering a follow-up project to improve recovery outcomes, while also searching for funding to turn this prototype into a product for home rehabilitation.

The team have passed the proof-of-concept stage and are now looking at getting the glove into production. See the device in action on YouTube and visit the project’s website to find out more - http://scriptproject.eu/

ENDS

For more information, please contact Kelsey Arif, University of Hertfordshire Press Office on 01707 285163 , Email: k.arif3@herts.ac.uk

Notes to Editor

Other project partners are: R.U. Robots Limited (UK), University of Sheffield (UK), Universiteit Twente (Netherlands), Roessingh Research and Development BV (Netherlands), MOOG BV (Netherlands), San Raffaele S.p.A (Italy). and User Interface Design GMBH (Germany).

Acknowledgement

This project was partially funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme.

Photograph

The glove device on Mr Alfredo Cesario from San Raffaele S.p.A, Italy.

About the University of Hertfordshire:

The University is the UK’s leading business-facing university and an exemplar in the sector.  It is innovative and enterprising and challenges individuals and organisations to excel. 

The University of Hertfordshire is one of the region’s largest employers with 2,700 staff and a turnover of over £238 million .

With a student community of 25,300 including 2,800 overseas students from 100 different countries , the University has a global network of over 195,000 alumni. It is also one of the top 100 universities in the world under 50 years old, according to the new Times Higher Education 100 under 50 rankings 2014.

For more information, please visit  www.herts.ac.uk

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• The University of Hertfordshire is the UK’s leading business-facing University and an exemplar in the sector. It is innovative and enterprising and challenges individuals and organisations to excel. • The University of Hertfordshire is one of the region’s largest employers with over 2,425 staff and a turnover of more than £234 million. With a student community of over 25,100 including more than 2,900 international students from over 120 different countries, the University has a global network of over 175,000 alumni. For more information, please visit www.herts.ac.uk • The University of Hertfordshire was awarded the Times Higher Education ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year 2010’.

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