Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

In-home physical therapy tool for Brachial plexus palsy using Physically Assistive Therapy for Hands (PATH)

Technology #6518

In-home physical therapy represents 90% of all outpatient rehabilitation spending. Despite of high demand and frequent use, in-home physical therapy gets delivered in one of the most outdated and least reliable way; prescription of therapeutic movements as diagrams on a piece of paper relaying 100% on patients' motivation to stick to the exercise regimen. This poses a significant challenge to patient progress and successful rehabilitation, especially if the patients are young children. How can we make in-home physical therapy for kids more fun, motivating, and effective? The Physically Assistive Therapy for Hands (PATH) game therapy uses motion-tracking technology and interactive screen to capture kids' attention and make each therapy session more fun and productive! Between sixty and ninety percent of the neonatal BPP cases are only managed through physical therapy and half of those patients are likely to have incomplete recovery that requires life-long therapy to prevent or minimize bone deformity and joint contractures associated with pediatric BPP. Therefore having a feasible solution for long-term in-home therapy is furthermore important for patient progress and rehabilitation for pediatric BPP patients. With its motion-tracking technology and video game-based therapeutic exercise the PATH provides an attractive solution for future BPP in-home therapy.

Engaging and Effective in-home Physical Therapy for Kids with Brachial plexus palsy

The PATH game incorporates the Microsoft’s motion-tracking device, Kinect, as the input for the game. Patients will trace clinician-prescribed patterns only with their affected limb, making the therapy session challenging but goal-driven, interactive, and fun. The patterns are customizable to focus on specific needs of the patients and their progress.

Applications

  • An in-home physical therapy device for children with Brachial plexus palsy
  • A therapeutic exercise tool for patients recovering after shoulder or arm surgery
  • A diagnostic tool to access patients' range of motion

Advantages

  • Interactive physical therapy session at home without a clinic visit
  • Video game based therapy making it more appealing for young patients
  • Customizable therapy movements to meet specific need of a patient