Design and usability of a home telerehabilitation system to train hand recovery following stroke

William K. Durfee, Samantha A. Weinstein, Ela Bhatt, Ashima Nagpal, James R. Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Current theories of stroke rehabilitation point toward paradigms of intense concentrated use of the afflicted limb as a means for motor program reorganization and partial function restoration. A home-based system for stroke rehabilitation that trains recovery of hand function by a treatment of concentrated movement was developed and tested. A wearable goniometer measured finger and wrist motions in both hands. An interface box transmitted sensor measurements in real-time to a laptop computer. Stroke patients used joint motion to control the screen cursor in a one-dimensional tracking task for several hours a day over the course of 10-14 days to complete a treatment of 1800 tracking trials. A telemonitoring component enabled a therapist to check in with the patient by video phone to monitor progress, to motivate the patient, and to upload tracking data to a central file server. The system was designed for use at home by patients with no computer skills. The system was placed in the homes of 20 subjects with chronic stroke and impaired finger motion, ranging from 2-305 mi away from the clinic, plus one that was a distance of 1057 miles. Fifteen subjects installed the system at home themselves after instruction in the clinic, while nine required a home visit to install. Three required follow-up visits to fix equipment. A post-treatment telephone survey was conducted to assess ease of use and most responded that the system was easy to use. Functional improvements were seen in the subjects enrolled in the formal treatment study, although the treatment period was too short to trigger cortical reorganization. We conclude that the system is feasible for home use and that tracking training has promise as a treatment paradigm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041003
JournalJournal of Medical Devices, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2009


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