Hand therapist: A rehabilitation approach based on wearable technology and video gaming

Rastislav Lipovský, Hugo Alexandre Ferreira, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers


Most rehabilitation activities for stroke survivors with hand impairment require the constant help of a caregiver. That and repetitive training can cause a lack of motivation for the patients. The Myo armband is a wearable device comprised of a 9-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) and 8 electromyography (EMG) sensors. The device provides spatial and gestural data that informs about the orientation and movement of the user’s arm. Touch buttons were also used to detect a fully opened/closed hand. A game was built in Unity 3D for hand training in which the user must grab, hold, transport, and drop a cube in several increasingly difficult puzzle levels. In the game the user sees virtual hands/arms that replicates the user’s movements so the user can feel more immersed in the game. This game proposed a low-cost and engaging solution for hand rehabilitation based on gaming devices and software.


Any kind of repetitive routine activities might cause the person to either slack off or even stop doing it in the first place. When it comes to recovery consistency is key, so any gaps in the patients rehabilitation routine might affect the recovery process. So to help motivate the patients and mentally prepare them for this harsh routine we can rely on some fun activities that can have the same effect on the body part. That can also reduce the reliance on a caregiver for every therapy activity, and this way the patients can feel improvement in their physical and mental health and eventually rely on themselves in certain tasks and chores.