Combining muscle signals and gaming for stroke treatment

For successful rehabilitation of stroke patients, repetitive, high-dose training is essential. Lin et al. from the Singapore-ETH Centre and the Neural Control of Movement Lab at ETH Zurich investigated the usability of the upper limb rehabilitation technology, MyoGuide, which is comprised of an EMG armband – a bracelet recording muscle activity – and a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone. Patients engage in upper limb training by playing games on the device, using recorded muscle activity signals to control the game character.

Three therapists and seven stroke patients were introduced to the training platform, with the therapists supervising wrist extension training using MyoGuide for 10 days. The study recorded the device’s usability, the patient’s willingness to continue training, and their daily performance.

The System Usability Scale, ranging from 0 to 100, averaged 82.5. The patients significantly improved their performance from the first to the last session and expressed a strong interest in continuing to use the platform. However, independent and unsupervised use was challenging. (Check out the study done by Devittori et al. about unsupervised stroke rehabilitation.)

Overall, the study demonstrates successful utilization of a training platform that combines muscle activity measurements and games for upper limb rehabilitation. While motivation to use the platform is high, ongoing work is aimed at improving its accessibility.

Lin, H., Xu, Y., Zhang, X. et al. A usability study on mobile EMG-guided wrist extension training in subacute stroke patients- MyoGuide. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation (2024) 21:39.

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Image: MyoGuide