Great solution for rehabilitation of stroke patients: a smart glove to regain control over hand and arm

a smart glove to regain control over hand and arm
A smart glove, created by South Korean health tech company Neofect, incorporates solutions, based on games, to help stroke patients recover and regain control over motions of their arms and hands

The glove, named the Rapael Smart Glove looks a lot like the Nintendo Power Glove, but it’s not exactly a video game controller. It’s a smart rehabilitation glove for stroke patients. It helps people to recover  from central nerve system disorders, reports with the reference to Mashable.

Neofect founder Ban Ho Young told that everything they have now was made with collaboration between rehabilitation experts and game designers. Gaming helps to motivate patients, especially when he estimates about 85% of South Koreans don’t complete their stroke rehabilitation programs. In South Korea, about 105,000 people experience a stroke every year, according to a study in the Journal of Stroke

“Just moving someone’s hand in a certain way won’t improve that person’s condition because a large part of rehab takes place in the brain,” Ban said. “We see a lot of focus on the clinical side of things and not enough on the motivational.”

With Rapael, users can play games depending on which movements they want to work on. They can improve a forearm supination and pronation (facing your palm upward and downward), train to pour yourself a glass of wine. Also, patients can improve fingers’ flexion and extension by bending and unbending their fingers while decorating cupcakes with icing.

The glove has sensors that monitor movement in the user’s arm and hand. The bending sensors can also tell if the hand is bending in one direction or another. The sensors send information to a computer system that sees the amount of individual finger movement.

The glove is also Bluetooth-enabled, connecting everything to an app and the Rapael Smart Rehabilitation System that analyzes and records data to track the patient’s training progress.

Neofect launched Rapael, which costs $10,000 USD, last December and was first offered to hospitals and rehab centers in South Korea. As of July 2015, Neofect has shipped 20 Rapael units to hospitals and is used in top institutions such as Seoul National University Hospital, the Samsung Medical Center and the National Rehabilitation Center.

Once the company  reconfigure the software for personal home use, the Rapael will be available to consumers early next year. Patients will be able to rent Rapael for about 100,000 KRW ($85 USD). Although for now Rapael is available for use in South Korea, the company has already started its marketing efforts.

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