In the tech world, “making the world a better place” has become a bit of a cliché. But with over a billion people living with some form of disability or impairment, medical technology can make a huge difference in people’s everyday lives. That’s why Virtualware is using Leap Motion technology to help people recovering from strokes, Parkinson’s Disease, and more.
Put simply, VirtualRehab Hands is a mini-gaming platform that lets doctors monitor the progress of patients from anywhere in the world. The games are fun and simple, using Leap Motion’s highly responsive hand tracking technology to let patients control game elements on the screen. According to Virtualware, their system is the very first virtual rehabilitation software to be classified as a medical device, under the EU’s Medical Device Directives. It joins TedCas and MotionSavvy in bringing Leap Motion technology to the assistive healthcare space.
The system has already been tested in installations in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, according to David Fried, the company’s Director of International Business Development. Right now, it’s being used in the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery at Queen Square in London. Over the next few weeks, it’s slated to be installed in two more London hospitals – including one where it will be used for telerehabilitation (remote treatment) with stroke patients.
“We want to help make telerehabilitation a reality around the world. This involves a truly affordable technology solution that makes hand rehabilitation a more engaging experience for people of all ages in clinical settings as well as at home,” said David.
“One of the most interesting things that became evident when people first started using VirtualRehab Hands is the real demand for such solutions from the actual patients,” he continued. “People who suffer from neurological disorders and diseases are really motivated to get better, and are looking for new ways to do so, no matter what age they are.
“Leap Motion brings real independence for patients in the rehabilitation process – with its size and affordability, it allows us to provide a new method of telerehabilitation that can be used anywhere and anytime.”
In the future, Virtualware plans to add more more therapeutic games for a variety of neurological and physical disorders. Each game is based on their work with neurologists and physical and occupational therapists. Beyond that, they also plan on expanding support to children with physical and developmental problems, and adding an assessment module for therapists.