Winning TechSandbox competition team develop virtual reality game that provides real-time feedback to patients undergoing stroke therapy.
The TechSandbox competition, coordinated by the University of Washington's Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), in Seattle, US, was so successful in its inaugural year that the competition now takes place within the framework of a two-credit-hour course offered through the department of bioengineering.
Rehabilitation helps stroke survivors relearn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged. For example, these skills can include coordinating leg movements in order to walk or carrying out the steps involved in any complex activity. The goals of rehabilitation are to help survivors become as independent as possible and to attain the best possible quality of life.
This year's winning team developed a virtual reality game that provides real-time feedback to patients undergoing stroke therapy.
Team vHAB - including two graduate students in bioengineering;
vHAB uses muscle activity sensors to measure and speed up patient motor recovery, and delivers the data into electronic medical records so doctors can measure stages of both clinical and at-home recovery.
"The competition began as a way to engage students and faculty, and entice them to visit the center and experience, hands-on, the equipment that is available," says Lise Johnson, researcher and education manager at the US National Science Foundation-funded CSNE.
"As the course has evolved, we've seen the students focus on wearable technologies, consumer devices, and medical devices; our panel of industry liaison judges has been very impressed by what the students are capable of."