A new chapter is being written for hand rehabilitiation through an Internet-enabled program that allows physical therapists in remote locations to direct patients through exercises patterned after those used in video games. The inventors of the program, a team from Canada’s University of Alberta, designed the computerized system to work with a specially designed joystick interface that allows patients to play games that mimic motion patterns that range from boxing to bartending.

The device, ReJoyce, is targeted to aid rehabilitation of individuals who have lost upper mobility from stroke, spinal cord injury or other types of nerve or muscular damage. Patients play the games and a physical therapist supervises the exercise using a smart phone or remote computer.

Global News reports that the systems, creators, Arthur Prochazka and Jan Kowalczeski, say ReJoyce is designed to allow patients whose arm or hand mobility is reduced to practice everyday activities in an innovative way. 

"And at the end of sessions, we often hear from people, ‘Boy I didn’t realize how tired my arm was getting. I really had a good workout," said Prochazka. 

After falling from a bicycle 4 years ago former firefighter, Ray Royer, lost most of the mobility in his legs and hands. Royer says he believes the type of rehabilitation offered by ReJoyce is superior to others he had tried. 

"It’s more motivational," said Royer in a report posted to GlobalTVEdmonton.com. "It gets your mind off of trying to close my hand and my mind more on the game.”

A video report about the system is available here.

Source: Global News