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Technology comes to aid of stroke patients

Stroke patients have a wide range of disabilities and recovery of physical movement can often take many months or years. Until recently products enabling home based rehabilitation didn’t exist, but now two devices may offer people the opportunity to take their recovery into their own hands…and feet.Nintendo’s WeHab is a new platform from the University of Notre Dame that could help people recover after a stroke.

People recovering from strokes often require balance retraining to be able to perform simple every day tasks such as dressing, which makes typical Wii games tricky.  The WeHab system however, has cameras and software that allows therapists to monitor and give feedback of the recovery process. Results are analysed and visualised onto a monitor so patients can watch their progress in real time and adjust their postures accordingly.

The system has undergone pilot testing and is expected to be available in market sometime in 2012.
Meanwhile a New Zealand company Im-Able, established in 2009 to introduce treatments to stroke people, introduced the Able-X to market in 2011.

Designed to speed recovery of arm movement in people who have had a stroke, the Able-X is a device that encourages the good and weak arm to move together in a series of computer based games. The person plays the games using a special air mouse which communicates to the computer.

The use of games in both the Wii and X-Able devices motivates patients to aim for and reach goals, in the process doing the repetition that is so necessary for recovery.

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