Hand Rehabilitation Research
We believe that post-stroke motor recovery can be maximized with improved bodily sensation. To improve proprioception, we developed TheraBracelet which is a wrist band generating minute vibration. TheraBracelet was shown to instantaneously enhance touch sensation of the fingers [Ender et al. 2013] as well as fine dexterous hand function [Hur et al. 2014].
A start-up company, TheraBracelet LLC, is working towards market launch in 2016.
The neural mechanism behind the efficacy of TheraBracelet is under investigation. EEG, fMRI, and TMS techniques are used to test our hypothesized neural mechanism of ‘remote stochastic resonance’ in the central nervous system.
Virtual Reality Games
Fun games using virtual reality or robots have a huge potential in helping rehabilitate stroke survivors at the comfort of their home. We have developed three upper limb virtual rehabilitation games using low-cost motion tracking devices such as Kinect and P5 Glove [link to paper]. In addition, we are currently working on developing fun robots to control using arm motions or EMG for children with brachial plexus injury and people with stroke.
Ladder Fall Prevention
Falls from elevation are one of the major causes of fatal injuries at workplaces. We are studying biomechanics of the way people trip and fall from a vertical fixed ladder, using an instrumented ladder along with wireless EMG and motion-capture systems. We are also studying the way people recover from fall perturbation biomechanically. The obtained knowledge is expected to guide development of ergonomic interventions to reduce fall-related injuries from elevation.
Upper limb strength is essential for successful recovery from fall perturbation. Techniques to increase hand strength are being developed, thus reducing injuries from ladder climbing.