Volume 48 Number 4, 2011
Pages 431 — 444
Abstract — Robotic systems currently used in upper-limb rehabilitation following stroke rely on some form of visual feedback as part of the intervention program. We evaluated the effect of a video game environment (air hockey) on reaching in stroke with various levels of arm support. We used the Arm Coordination Training 3D system to provide variable arm support and to control the hockey stick. We instructed seven subjects to reach to one of three targets covering the workspace of the impaired arm during the reaching task and to reach as far as possible while playing the video game. The results from this study showed that across subjects, support levels, and targets, the reaching distances achieved with the reaching task were greater than those covered with the video game. This held even after further restricting the mapped workspace of the arm to the area most affected by the flexion synergy (effectively forcing subjects to fight the synergy to reach the hockey puck). The results from this study highlight the importance of designing video games that include specific reaching targets in the workspace compromised by the expression of the flexion synergy. Such video games would also adapt the target location online as a subject's success rate increases.
Key words: arm function, haptic interface, reaching, rehabilitation, robotics, shoulder abduction, stroke, therapy, upper-limb impairment, video games.
Last Reviewed or Updated Thursday, May 5, 2011 2:08 PM