Stroke patients may be able to recover hand motion by playing video games using a biomedical sensor glove developed by final-year students at McGill University.
The glove is designed to allow patients to exercise in their own homes with minimal supervision, while at the same time allowing doctors to monitor their progress from a distance, lessening the need for hospital visits.
Stroke patients, who are often left with moderate to severe physical impairments, can monitor their progress thanks to software that will generate 3D models and display them on the screen, while simultaneously sending the information to the treating physician.
The glove was developed by four mechanical engineering undergraduates in response to a design request from the start-up company Jintronix.
The students — working under the supervision of Prof Rosaire Mongrain — met with company representatives once a week for several months to develop the glove, which can track the movements of the wrist, the palm and the index finger using several inertial measurement units.
Although similar gloves currently exist, they cost approximately $30,000 (£18,000).
By using more accurate and less expensive sensors, the students were able to develop a glove that currently costs $1,000 to produce.
Jintronix has submitted the project to Grand Challenges Canada, which is an independent not-for-profit organisation dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of people in developing countries in the hope that they will receive funding for further development.