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How technology has moved on assisting human limbs....

How technology has moved on assisting human limbs….

Technical Solutions for New Limbs Needn’t Cost an Arm and a Leg …

As technology continues its relentless drive for new solutions to physical human problems, we look at one company’s products and how they can help.

This blog is not an advert for the Israeli company MediTouch, but it it is a call for more awareness of the benefits for more physical rehabilitation solutions for sufferers of neurological injury or disease.

Get a Celebrity On Board

It was the experience of news man Andrew Marr that started the increase in awareness of issues surrounding the rehabilitation of people who have stroke, spinal cord injury, head injury, cerebral palsy, drop foot, complex regional pain syndrome, Multiple Schlerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. He himself was hit by a stroke last January.

His recovery has been long and slow and he only recently started to return to our screens. He told Business Reporter (October 2013), ‘My belief is that this country needs to spend a lot more on rehabilitation and physiotherapy. There are huge numbers that could go back to work, pay tax and look after themselves with enough rehabilitation’.

He said that those who do not go back to work after rehabilitation are naturally not paying taxes, not working and will have to be looked after by the state. It is a compelling point. The psychological health benefits are also greater when long-term sick or injured can contribute.

Ongoing Treatment

MediTouch explain their products as ‘utiliising wearable motion capture devices and dedicated rehabilitation software….. physical therapy solutions allow patients with upper and/or lower extremity movement dysfunction to practice intensive virtual functional task training of single and multi joints.’

Their systems implement ‘impairment oriented training (IOT) with augmented motion feedback to give a tailored arm or leg exercise physical therapy program that allows the patient to achieve better functional recovery.’

The HandTutor

This is designed to allow for ‘functional and fine motor hand rehabilitation.’ It’s an ergonomic wearable glove and dedicated physical therapy rehabilitation software.

It ‘allows for a range of bio-mechanical evaluation including speed, passive and active range of motion and motion analysis of the fingers and wrist. Quantitative bio-mechanical data allow for objective evaluation and physical therapy treatment follow up.’

The device is patient-customised activities, games and exercises which are monitored and report any improvement through precise feedback.

The Arm and Leg Tutors

The ergonomic wearable arm brace and software permits ‘functional and fine motor rehabilitation of the upper extremity.’

It offers a range of biomechanical evaluation, ‘including speed, passive and active range of motion and motion analysis of the upper extremity. Quantitative biomechanical data allow for objective evaluation and rehabilitation treatment follow up.’

While for leg treatment offers the same facilities for the lower extremities. This is a wearable leg brace and software, providing objective evaluation and physical therapy treatment follow up.

There is also available a 3D Tutor product for ‘functional rehabilitation of the upper and lower extremities’ consisting of a wearable wireless motion feedback device and dedicated physical therapy rehabilitation software.  Quantitative bio-mechanical data allow for objective evaluation and physical therapy treatment follow up as with the previous devices.

The Issues

Other companies make similar products and the whole field of rehabilitation and assisted human limb movement is undergoing rapid technological advance.

For clinical support and treatment there are specialists such as PhysioFunction who are neurological physiotherapists, ‘offering rehabilitation for neurological disorders – illnesses or injuries affecting the brain, spinal cord or the peripheral nerves connecting to the face, body, arms and legs. Neurological Physiotherapists can help treat those Neurological symptoms that can make everyday activities difficult such as weakness, paralysis, spasticity, balance and co-ordination problems, and pain.’

So:

  • Should more be spent by the NHS on these sorts of treatments and therapies?
  • Should it be left to those who can buy the equipment themselves?
  • Or individual priorities of different local authorities?
  • Is this area one we only think about when someone we know needs help?
  • Is augmented human movement too close to robotics for comfort?

Have you also seen?:

Digital Health Shapes Up to Be a Financial Winning Marketplace, 12 November 2012

The NHS and New Technology, 25 January 2012

After Robot Soldiers and Robot Surgeons, Stand Up for Robot Teachers, 5 March 2013

Image: Science Museum London