News Atlas | Ben Coxworth | April 12th, 2013.
People recovering from strokes can often find rehabilitation very frustrating. They try to move their hand in a certain way, for instance, but it just won’t do it – why not?That’s where a new system known as the Synergistic Physio-Neuro Platform (SynPhNe) comes into the picture. It guides patients through exercises, monitors their performance, and lets them know why they’re unable to perform certain tasks. They can then use that knowledge to self-correct their actions, instead of just getting exasperated.
SynPhNe (“symphony” – get it?) is being developed by Dr. John Heng and his PhD student Banerji Subhasis, at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. It’s designed for stroke patients who have lost the full use of one arm, and who have gone as far as they can with conventional therapy.
The system consists of a headset and an arm band, both of which are wired into a computer running custom software. As the patient tries to follow along with on-screen arm movement videos, neural sensors in the headset monitor their brain activity, while sensors in the arm band keep track of muscular activity in their afflicted arm.