Technology-assisted stroke rehabilitation: the RoboROVER

Project Team Leader
Prof Denise Taylor (AUT)

Project Team
Dr Nada Signal (AUT)
Marcus King (Callaghan Innovation)
Richard Little (Exsurgo)
Tom Glenn

Project Summary
Around 80% of survivors of stroke experience arm and hand dysfunction. After stroke, greater use of the arm is associated with improved independence and quality of life. There is strong evidence that improved function is possible even months or years after the stroke. Practice is crucial for recovery. Between 400-600 repetitions per session are required to elicit the neuroplastic changes that underpin recovery. However, standard stroke interventions fall short, achieving only 23-32 repetitions of arm activity. We need to find cost-effective ways of providing more rehabilitation. Robotic devices could be used to deliver high-doses of rehabilitation whilst reducing time demand on the therapist. Comparisons of robotic to standard and intensive therapy for stroke rehabilitation indicate that robotic therapy is as effective as intensive therapy and more effective than standard therapy. Most of the benefits can be ascribed to repetitive practice. However, existing robots are prohibitively expensive and too complex for many clinics and certainly for home use. This project focuses on developing a cost-effective robotic device with an integrated smart rehabilitation programme that can be easily set up by therapists or patients to facilitate high does rehabilitation that will result in meaningful changes for patients.