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Banina, M. C., Molad, R., Solomon, J. S., Berman, S., Soroker, N., Frenkel-Toledo, S., et al. (2020). Exercise intensity of the upper limb can be enhanced using a virtual rehabilitation system. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol, , 1–7.
Abstract: Purpose: Motor recovery of the upper limb (UL) is related to exercise intensity, defined as movement repetitions divided by minutes in active therapy, and task difficulty. However, the degree to which UL training in virtual reality (VR) applications deliver intense and challenging exercise and whether these factors are considered in different centres for people with different sensorimotor impairment levels is not evidenced. We determined if (1) a VR programme can deliver high UL exercise intensity in people with sub-acute stroke across different environments and (2) exercise intensity and difficulty differed among patients with different levels of UL sensorimotor impairment.Methods: Participants with sub-acute stroke (<6 months) with Fugl-Meyer scores ranging from 14 to 57, completed 10 approximately 50-min UL training sessions using three unilateral and one bilateral VR activity over 2 weeks in centres located in three countries. Training time, number of movement repetitions, and success rates were extracted from game activity logs. Exercise intensity was calculated for each participant, related to UL impairment, and compared between centres.Results: Exercise intensity was high and was progressed similarly in all centres. Participants had most difficulty with bilateral and lateral reaching activities. Exercise intensity was not, while success rate of only one unilateral activity was related to UL severity.Conclusion: The level of intensity attained with this VR exercise programme was higher than that reported in current stroke therapy practice. Although progression through different activity levels was similar between centres, clearer guidelines for exercise progression should be provided by the VR application.Implications for rehabilitationVR rehabilitation systems can be used to deliver intensive exercise programmes.VR rehabilitation systems need to be designed with measurable progressions through difficulty levels.
Keywords: Stroke; difficulty; exercise therapy; intensity; personalized exercise; upper limb; virtual reality
Raveh, E., Portnoy, S., & Friedman, J. (2018). Adding vibrotactile feedback to a myoelectric-controlled hand improves performance when online visual feedback is disturbed. Hum Mov Sci, 58, 32–40.
Abstract: We investigated whether adding vibrotactile feedback to a myoelectric-controlled hand, when visual feedback is disturbed, can improve performance during a functional test. For this purpose, able-bodied subjects, activating a myoelectric-controlled hand attached to their right hand performed the modified Box & Blocks test, grasping and manipulating wooden blocks over a partition. This was performed in 3 conditions, using a repeated-measures design: in full light, in a dark room where visual feedback was disturbed and no auditory feedback – one time with the addition of tactile feedback provided during object grasping and manipulation, and one time without any tactile feedback. The average time needed to transfer one block was measured, and an infrared camera was used to give information on the number of grasping errors during performance of the test. Our results show that when vibrotactile feedback was provided, performance time was reduced significantly, compared with when no vibrotactile feedback was available. Furthermore, the accuracy of grasping and manipulation was improved, reflected by significantly fewer errors during test performance. In conclusion, adding vibrotactile feedback to a myoelectric-controlled hand has positive effects on functional performance when visual feedback is disturbed. This may have applications to current myoelectric-controlled hands, as adding tactile feedback may help prosthesis users to improve their functional ability during daily life activities in different environments, particularly when limited visual feedback is available or desirable.