MAY 15, 2018 03:35 AM PDT
A Robotic Hand Helps Rehab Patients
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When patients have to rehab after surgery, illness or strokes, physical therapy and the accompanying exercises can be a drag. Robotics can help patients re-learn how to move their hands and arms. Recently, at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel, a game was developed to help with the process of rehab. Using a system of box shelves, cups and lights, it's a large game of 3D Tic Tac Toe. Patients can play along with the robotic system, placing cups in the spaces or activating the lights. The process of the game can be either "embodied" where a robotic arm moves the cups around the squares or "unembodied" where a computer activates the lights.

Researchers discovered that if they upped the speed of the robotic arm or computer player, the rehab players would also speed up their play. If the computer or arm slowed down, so did the human player. The system is efficient because the movements of the game can be left to the robotics, while physical and occupational therapists can concentrate on the minute movements of patients that might need work. Since tic tac toe is also a game of strategy, patients who are rehabbing from neurological issues get a boost of cognitive rehab as well.

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