Computer assisted rehabilitation exercise system for finger-hand and arm functions

This is a portable, multi-functional rehabilitation tool that enables patients to interact with video games as a means of therapy and training. A custom interface device (ID) was developed which uses a commercial miniature motion sensor which can precisely track motion in 6-degrees-of-freedom (3d linear motion and 3D angular motion). The ID translates any one or a combination of the 3 position or orientation motion signals, as appropriate for the task, into a digital signal equivalent to that of any computer mouse, joystick, or game pad and therefore one can play any commercial video game by:

  • movement of virtually any object attaching the motion sensor to object, or
  • finger movements attaching motion sensor to finger or any other body part.

This configurable hardware/software system is a motivating exercise tool designed to make long-term therapy enjoyable and engaging and thus to enhance and maximize the rehabilitation and learning process. The system was designed to use any commercial video games and thus to have direct access to a large, inexpensive, ever-changing source of entertainment. Testing has proven that patients favor a wide variety of video games. Interactive games offer the following values for rehabilitation:

  • Interactive exercise gaming can include a wide range of levels of precision, movement speeds and amplitude and directions.
  • Interactive exercise gaming can include many different puzzles, distracters, choice, reaction time and strategies, visual-spatial and cognitive challengers appropriate for multi-tasking (elements to be found in many video games).