Posts Tagged Assistive Technology
Sheffield-based STEPS Rehabilitation, a specialist facility that delivers intensive rehabilitation for people recovering from brain injury, spinal cord injury, strokes and complex trauma injuries, is now home to “cutting-edge” rehabilitation equipment.
The specialist facility has launched STEPS RehaHub, which has become the first place in the UK to provide clients with access to “word-class” robotics and virtual reality (VR) technology.
The suite of assistive technology focuses on upper and lower limb robotic therapy, as well as cognitive feedback and training for a complete solution for neurorehabilitation.
Fourier Intelligence is a Singapore-based technology company that develops pioneering exoskeleton and rehabilitation robotics. By combining the expertise and experience of researchers, therapists, and patients, the company excels in developing new robotic solutions to support the rehabilitation process and lives of patients.
“We’re offering this new tech in conjunction with Thor Assistive Technologies,” reveals STEPS Rehabilitation Business Development Director Jules Leahy. “We’ve been working with the founder, Stephen Ruffle, for a while now with ReWalk Exoskeleton, and we know just how much clients can progress with the assistance of the right technology.”
Stephen explains: “The RehabHub is a suite of rehab technology which focus on both upper and lower limb robotic therapy, as well as cognitive feedback and training, providing a complete solution for neurorehabilitation.
“The unique and innovative ‘Force Feedback’ technology creates an immersive game environment which facilitates highly effective rehabilitation. Use of the technology naturally encourages repetition and intensity which improves client engagement and outcomes.
“As the devices are all linked, it enables client-against-client gaming competition, which enhances motivation and stamina. The technology also provides therapists and clients with performance feedback which tracks client progress and helps shape individual rehabilitation programmes.”
The suite of equipment includes the latest in cycle motion, arm, wrist, finger, and ankle rehabilitation robotics.
“Clients can access the pioneering OTParvos alone or in conjunction with the HandyRehab,” comments STEPS Rehabilitation Clinical Director Toria Chan. “These amazing pieces of kit used together provide a portable intelligent solution for therapy, supporting the functional rehabilitation of the upper limb, fine motor skills of the fingers, hand-eye coordination and cognitive ability.
“They allow clients to undertake training using everyday objects with the assistance of a lightweight robotic glove, with quantifiable data being recorded in real time enhancing the rehabilitation process. We can’t wait to see the results!”
As well as being the first UK Fourier Intelligence Rehabilitation Hub, the specialist rehabilitation facility is also now one of two UK facilities offering clients access to the “revolutionary” MindMaze VR rehabilitation technology.
Developed in Switzerland, MindMaze equipment helps clients who have sustained a traumatic brain injury.
“We’ve been carefully exploring what VR technology is out there, and the portfolio of MindMaze equipment is truly impressive,” adds Toria. “It includes the MindMotion GO, a first-of-its-kind mobile neurorehabilitation therapy system that comes with a large variety of gamified engaging activities covering motor and task functions. Thanks to the motivating effects of the 3D virtual environment, early results suggest an increased client engagement and adherence to therapy.”
The MindPod Dolphin is an engaging animated gaming experience that promotes the recovery of motor skills and cognitive function.
Toria continues: “The dolphin has been designed by Pixar animators no less! It comes with an anti-gravity vest that de-weights the arm and trains fine-motor control of the upper-limb by encouraging continuous exploration of its immersive oceanic environment.”
Now, STEPS is in discussions to collaborate with the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) at Sheffield Hallam University to undertake new research that will investigate and explore the benefits of this new rehabilitation technology. The specialist centre at the university is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing through movement, harnessing world-class research and design.
Individuals with impaired upper limbs have motor limitations that interfere with functionality. An alternative to rehabilitation is robot-assisted therapy, a method that increases the effectiveness of treatment. New robotic actuators have been developed to assist in the rehabilitation of the upper limb. One of them aims to actively perform finger extension and flexion passively, using a servo motor coupled to a rope system. At the elbow, a direct current (DC) motor combined with a gearbox was coupled to a system of pulleys and ropes designed to actively perform flexion and extension movements. To activate the system, an Arduino-NANO® and a mobile application for Android were used. The performance of the prototype was evaluated in four post-stroke volunteers. The ability to perform the proposed movements with the device was observed. Structural reinforcement was necessary, after twisting the elbow support structure, with pronation of the forearm, resulting in increased component weight. This work presented new robotic devices that can assist in the rehabilitation of post-stroke individuals.
[Abstract] Detecting physical abilities through smartphone sensors: an assistive technology application
It is important to promote assistive technologies to improve quality of life. The proposed SmartAbility Android Application recommends assistive technologies for people with reduced physical abilities, by focussing on actions that can be performed independently.
Materials and methods
The SmartAbility Application uses Android built-in sensors, e.g., accelerometer and gyroscope and application programming interfaces (APIs) to detect physical abilities, e.g., head movements and blowing and recommend suitable assistive technologies. This is supported by a MySQL database that stores assistive technologies and mappings between abilities. The underpinning research is the SmartAbility Framework that culminates the knowledge obtained during previously feasibility trials and usability evaluations.
The Application was evaluated by pupils (n =18) at special educational needs schools with physical conditions, including cerebral palsy, autism and Noonan syndrome, and assessed through the NASA Task Load Index (TLX) and System Usability Scale (SUS). Analysis using the Adjective Rating Scale highlighted that the Application achieves “Good Usability”.
The SmartAbility Application demonstrates that built-in sensors of Android devices and their APIs, can detect actions that users perform, e.g., head movements and speaking. The Application contains a database where assistive technologies are mapped to physical abilities, in order to provide suitable recommendations. It will be disseminated to assistive technology charities and manufacturers and be used by healthcare professionals as part of the rehabilitation process. Future developments of SmartAbility include the creation of a second Application designed specifically to recommend assistive technologies for the education sector, based on users’ physical and cognitive abilities.
- IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION
- Assistive technology is any item, equipment or piece of software designed to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of people with disabilities.
- SmartAbility should be introduced into rehabilitation to promote awareness of assistive technologies that are suitable for the physical abilities of the user.
- Our research highlighted that physical abilities can be detected using built-in sensors of Android devices, e.g. accelerometer and gyroscope.
- Involvement of the intended user community during evaluations is essential to ensure that a smartphone application is suitable for people with reduced physical abilities.
- Assistive technologies can support the rehabilitation of people with reduced physical abilities by providing increased independence and improved quality of life.
Assistive Technology for Alaska (ATLA) is Alaska’
nonprofit assistive technology resource center
that focuses on promoting full independence
and quality of life in work, school, and at home
for people with disabilities. ATLA staff pride
themselves on taking their time to assess the
needs of their clients, and thinking out of the box
to meet those needs in creative ways.
For the past five years, ATLA has focused on
adopting new and emerging technology to add to
their “toolbox” to effectively serve individuals with
disabilities. Specifically, the center has adopted a
range of technologies to develop “smart homes.”
These homes are equipped with devices that allow
for tasks, typically performed by humans, to be
automated by voice, touch, and sensors. These
smart technologies include in-ear headphones
such as AirPods, virtual assistants such as Amazon
Alexa, door sensors, voice-activated temperature
control, and more.
ATLA has updated about 15 homes with smart
home technology, and provides countless other
clients with various smart technology equipment
that allows them to be more independent.
If you love gardening but find it difficult because of limited mobility, there are many assistive technology (AT) products and solutions available to …
[GUIDE] Where Can I Find Guides for Assistive Technology? – National Rehabilitation Information Center
Finding the right assistive technology (AT) to meet your needs can be a challenge. NARIC’s collection includes more than 65 guides and factsheets developed during the AbleData project. Each information product includes an overview of the topic, general descriptions of types of assistive technology, and recommendations for where to find additional information or support to identify, purchase, or build the right AT solution for you. The links here will take you to a description of the guide, with a link to download the PDF. We’ve included a Spanish version for any available guides. All of these guides were produced between 2013 and 2020. You may also like the catalogue of AbleData’s blog posts (PDF) featuring a variety of AT topics.
This guide highlights some of the assistive technology (AT) products developed to make shoe-donning and shoe-removing easier for people with disabilities. Shoe-donning AT include the foot funnel; the Helping Hand Shoe Helper; the Ankle-Foot Orthosis (AFO) Assist, consisting of the AFO Cradle, the Shoe Platform, and the Foot Funnel; and shoe-lacing aids. Shoe-removing aids discussed are the Shoe Remover and the Shoe Puller Remover.
This guide provides a brief overview of some of the assistive technology (AT) mobile health software applications (apps) that may help manage post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. It describes apps aimed at: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, arousal and reactivity symptoms, and cognition and mood symptoms.
This guide describes different types of assistive technology (AT) exercise equipment that are available. There is AT exercise equipment designed specifically for people with disabilities available on the market. Also, some of the workout equipment available is universally designed, which means that it is purposefully designed to support exercisers of varying heights, proportions, and abilities.
Document reviews major categories of high-tech wearable assistive technology (AT) available on the market today. Wearables (sometimes referred to as wearable technology or wearable tech) are devices or sensors that can be worn on or embedded in your body to assist you in performing a specific task or function. Examples of wearables include smartwatches, fitness trackers, headgear, smart clothing, and jewelry. Examples are also provided of newer high-tech wearables that are useful for people with hearing, cognitive, and visual disabilities.