menu

Video Game Helps Stroke Patients Regain Motor Skills

Video Game Helps Stroke Patients Regain Motor Skills
technology

Scientists at Newcastle University create a Wii-Style game that makes therapy fun and challenging with circus themed play.

Allie Walker
  • 2 june 2012

Limbs Alive, a company created by scientists at Newcastle University, has created a Wii-style video game to help patients recovering from a stroke regain functionality in their arms and hands. The ‘Circus Challenge’ game serves as ‘playful’ outpatient therapy for the patients; patients perform tasks in the game that strengthen their muscles and help the brain re-learn movements damaged in the stroke.

Patients perform simple movements like raising their arms to shoulder height or pumping their arms up and down, which correspond to actions within the on-screen game. So that when a patient raises their arms, they aren’t just performing repetitive motions, they’re taming lions or learning how to be a trapeze artist, effectively transforming the mundane, and often challenging act of therapy into game play. What used to be dull, tedious exercises have become a fun way for a patient to rehabilitate their gross and fine motor skills.

The game’s difficulty increases as the patient recovers, with the intention that a patient will continue to play until he or she has regained full use of the hand or arm damaged by the stroke. To ensure patients are receiving the treatment they need to recover, their progress is tracked and sent to a therapist for review. Game engineers and mathematicians at Limbs Alive also review the data from patients’ game-play to ensure the game is facilitating rehabilitation.

Janet Eyre, the leading professor behind the project at Newcastle, explains the premise behind ‘Circus Challenge:’

The brain can re-learn control of the weak arm but this needs frequent therapy over many months and there are not enough therapists to provide this on a one-to-one basis… with our video game, people get engrossed in the competition and action of the circus characters and forget that the purpose of the game is therapy.

The game could be a turning point for both therapy procedures and costs. Over 100,000 people in the UK suffer from strokes each year, with up to 80% never fully regaining the use of their arms and hands- a fact that costs the country billions of pounds a year. Such a large percentage of patients don’t fully recover because of the demanding and costly nature of therapy. For the best chance at a full recovery, patients need to exercise their weakened muscles for at least 45 minutes a day, often for an entire year before they can return to work and live independently.

Boredom and frustration with the exercises, the high cost of having a daily visit from a therapist, or having to go to a hospital or facility for treatment every day causes many patients to quit. The Limbs Alive game alleviates the tedious nature of therapy while providing a low-cost option for patients, and can even be played by people in wheelchairs. The game works on any computer or tablet, and can also be played on a TV through an HDMI cord. Players only need to invest in wireless controllers to start playing.

Watch a stroke patient play Circus Challenge and Janet Eyre explain the game in the video below:

Limbs Alive

PSFK has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a steady stream of inspiring news and ideas in the health and wellness space. Once each week, we will be posting an article on PSFK.com. If you would like to gain access to the full stream of content, please check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s Facebook page, where they are publishing a regular stream of inspiring and informative content.

Trending

Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology Yesterday

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children Yesterday

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines

Trending

Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Travel Yesterday

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Food Yesterday

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport Yesterday

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated Yesterday

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Fashion Yesterday

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work Yesterday

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing Yesterday

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

Automotive Yesterday

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

Gaming & Play Yesterday

This Game Lets You Be A Pilot In The Drone Racing League

DRL Racing Simulator recreates actual courses in a virtual environment

Travel december 1, 2016

Hotel Chain Is Giving Away Its Not-So-Super Hotel Art At Art Basel

A lesson in how to advertise a kitschy-to-cool redesign in the middle of Miami Art Week

No search results found.