Imperial College London
Functional deficits after stroke are common problems both in Brazil and in the UK.
As an attempt to improve rehabilitation and reduce its costs, robot-aided therapy
(RAT) has been developed in the last two decades. However, meta-analyses of
clinical trials with RAT revealed a limited transfer to performing common bimanual
tasks. This may be due to the challenges of emulating bimanual tasks in a virtual
environment, thus RATs focussed training only on the affected arm. Therefore, the
Human Robotics Group (HRG) at Imperial College recently developed the SITAR
system for task-oriented-training, which is composed of a force sensitive touch
screen table and instrumented objects. Instead of interacting with a virtual
environment as with most RAT systems, patients interact with real objects by
executing daily tasks through playing computer-controlled rehabilitative games.
We claim that this system can be used to improve bimanual rehabilitation using
appropriate haptic and visual feedback and dedicated assessment. This project
will help us establishing a partnership between the Robotic Group at the Federal
University of Sao Carlos (UFSCar) in Brazil and HRG in the UK, with the goals to:
i) develop bimanual objects used in daily tasks, and ii) integrate them to SITAR at
UFSCar. Evaluation will be carried out in iii) experiments with healthy subjects,
which will provide control data for comparison with iv) a pilot trial carried out with
stroke survivors in both countries.