An activity tracker for the arm
This project contributes to the future development and application of "tailor-made" at-home rehabilitation systems. For this, a consortium has been set up with an academic partner, a clinical partner, and one private partner.
About 80% of people that have suffered from a stroke have an impaired function of the affected arm in daily life. This is the consequence of motor impairments such as paralysis and spasticity, but can become worse as the result of “forgetting” to use the affected arm. This results in a negative spiral, characterised by decreasing arm-hand skills and decreasing levels of use of the arm and hand. Studies showed that a high intensity of practice and high levels of arm usage in daily life contributes to better arm-hand skills.
The aim of the project was to develop an intervention that stimulates people with a stroke to use the arm outside therapy more frequently and intensively, and hence improve arm-hand functioning. The main part of this intervention is an Arm Activity Tracker that was developed to measure arm use objectively and provide patient-specific feedback on arm activity. The objective of the Arm Activity Tracker is to increase arm use in daily life, improve arm-hand functioning, and facilitate the future transition to rehabilitation treatment at home. With the assistance of a therapist only when necessary. The system will ultimately contribute to better and more affordable rehabilitation treatment.
The project delivered an Arm Activity Tracker prototype that was evaluated in stroke patients on usability and effectivity. Results show that the device is user-friendly and accepted by patients and therapists and that it is potentially effective in increasing arm-hand usage in daily life. In current and next projects they will optimise the prototype and prepare product development and implementation in clinical care.