Purpose: This paper presents the Rehab@home system, a tool specifically developed for helping neurological patients performing rehabilitation exercises at home, without the presence of a physiotherapist. It is centred on the rehabilitation of balance and on the sit-to-stand (STS) movement.
Method: Rehab@home is composed of two Wii balance boards, a webcam and a computer, and it has two main software applications: one for patients to perform rehabilitation exercises and another one for therapists to visualize the data of the exercises. During the exercises, data from the boards and the webcam are processed in order to automatically assess the correctness of movements.
Results: Rehab@home provides exercises for the rehabilitation of balance (in sitting and in standing positions), and for the execution of the STS movement. It gives automatic feedback to the patient and data are saved for future analysis. The therapist is able to adapt the difficulty of the exercises to match with each patient's needs. A preliminary study with seven patients was conducted for evaluating their feedback. They appreciated using the system and felt the exercises more engaging than conventional therapy.
Conclusions: Feedback from patients gives the hope that Rehab@home can become a great tool for complementing their rehabilitation process. Implications for Rehabilitation Rehab@home can be used at home by patients with motor deficits, without the presence of a therapist, as a complement to conventional therapy for accelerating the rehabilitation process. The system provides exercises for improving the balance and the STS movement capabilities of patients, gives automatic feedback, and saves video and load information from the movements for future analysis by the therapist. Its most important feature is adaptability: the therapist is able to tune the difficulty of the exercises for adapting them to the needs of each patient. Patients get more engaged for this type of exercises and think they can take profit from using it.
Keywords: Assistive technology; STS movement; Wii balance board; balance; rehabilitation.