Scope and Objectives of the Project

    The purpose of this research project is the development of an integrated mechatronic system for the fastest and most efficient rehabilitation of stroke patients in which the patient's left or right upper limb mobility has been disturbed (hemiparesis). The system will support the patient and check if the execution of the movements of the upper limb is correct, just like a physiatrist/physiotherapist would do, would help him and will be part of a self-management approach of the 5A's type (ask, advice, assess, assist, arrange) which will be implemented through of the web platform to be developed.
The advantage of using the machine is that through the combination of the repeatability of the movements performed and the dynamic feedback provided, the patient will be “trained” to use his disordered upper extremity (hand, wrist, shoulder) in a shorter period of time than the one that would be needed through physiotherapy sessions and at a significantly lower cost. The movement will be done with the help of electric motors and properly programmed controllers. In order to make the device as light as possible, it is necessary to prepare a kinematic as well as a dynamic model of the structure and to implement a zero gravity control, in order to effectively reduce the weight close to zero. Also, the system will include a subsystem for controlling the movement of the hand associated with grasping and releasing objects. This subsystem will sense the patient's strengths and support him according to his needs in a process of intensive sensorimotor intake and release of objects. In order for the mechatronic system to be able to function as a telemetry device for doctors, it will have additional sensors and the ability to record the measurements that will result from the implementation of specific recovery scenarios that will be designed by specialized physiatrists. The patient with the movement of the bench will "train" his arm by doing certain exercises in a virtual reality environment on the computer, which are predetermined and of multiple levels of difficulty depending on the medical case. In the context of the project, in addition to the screen as a means of viewing the virtual reality environment, VR video headsets will be used, through which the patient will have a stronger involvement with the virtual reality environment.
    The initial version of the virtual reality system will allow the creation of a wide variety of task scenarios such as placing a glass on the table, a pot in the kitchen, as well as games that will assess the ability to control their movements, such as rolling a ball in different type of grounds (floor, sand, ice, etc.). The second version will simulate the shopping process inside a supermarket (sm) where the patient will on the one hand continue to practice various demanding movements but in addition, will proceed to real product purchases by creating a shopping basket and completing the purchases through an electronic sm. Through the process of the actual purchase of the products in the context of the self-management approach, apart from the restoration of his movement, his involvement in everyday activities, from which he was absent due to his health condition, will be strengthened, resulting in his psychological empowerment. In the context of achieving the goal of enhancing socialization, additional activities of different complexity and targeting will be developed in the sm environment or in other virtual environments. These activities will incorporate gamification features, giving the patient additional motivation to engage.

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