Canadian firm develops Kinect-based solution for stroke rehabilitation

Jintronix software is designed to provide stroke victims with a smooth and successful recovery

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 23 January 2014
Canadian firm develops Kinect-based solution for stroke rehabilitation

A Canadian medical technology start-up is using Kinect for Windows technology to ensure the rehabilitation process of stroke victims is a smooth and successful one.

Jintronix offers an affordable motion-capture system for physical rehabilitation that uses Microsoft Kinect for Windows to further advance the process of stroke rehabilitation.

The technology is also helping improve accessibility and lowering the previously expensive prices associated with rehabilitation. Getting to a physical clinic can prove challenging for stroke victims, and the cost of hiring a private physical therapist to come to their home is too high. The technology is also working to improve patients’ compliance with their rehabilitation programme, which as much as 65% of patients do not fully adhere to, if at all.

Jintronix CEO Shawn Errunza, writing in a post for the Kinect for Windows blog, describes the situation that Jane, a 57-year-old patient, faced: “After experiencing a stroke eight months ago, she now has difficulty moving the entire right side of her body. Like most stroke victims, Jane faces one to three weekly therapy sessions for up to two years. Unable to drive, she depends on her daughter to get her to these sessions; unable to work, she worries about the US$100 fee per visit, as she has exhausted her insurance coverage. If that weren’t enough, Jane also must exercise for hours daily just to maintain her mobility. Unfortunately, these exercises are very repetitive, and Jane finds it difficult to motivate herself to do them.”

By ‘gamifying’ these exercises, Jintronix is helping accelerate recovery and improve adherence to these rehabilitation programmes. One example is an exercise called ‘Fish Frenzy’, which guides patients through hand exercises by putting them in control of a virtual fish on the hunt for food.

Jintronix also provides immediate feedback, meaning the exercises can be completed correctly and effectively, an important benefit when no professional is present. Jintronix collects data from these remote rehabilitation sessions and provides critical information for clinicians and insurers, ensuring they can adapt the rehabilitation process accordingly.

“Patients can conveniently and consistently get treatment between clinic visits, from the comfort of their own homes, with results transmitted directly to their therapist,” writes Errunza. “This has been shown to be an effective method for delivering care, and for people living in remote areas, this type of tele-rehabilitation has the potential to be a real game changer. Moreover, a growing shortage of trained clinicians — the shortfall in the United States was estimated to be 13,500 in 2013 and is expected to grow to 31,000 by 2016 — means that more and more patients will be reliant on home rehab.”

The Kinect for Windows camera tracks 20 points on the body, tracking the patient’s position in three-dimensional space at 30 frames per second. The technology tracks the speed and fluidity of patients movements.

Currently, Jintronix is being beta tested at 60 clinics and hospitals around the world, including Seattle’s DaVinci Physical Therapy in Seattle, US, and the Gingras Lindsay Rehabilitation Hospital in Montreal, Canada.

“Thanks to Kinect for Windows, Jintronix doesn’t require any extra hardware, cameras, or body sensors, which keeps the price affordable,” says Errunza. “That low price point is extremely important as we want to see our system in the home of every patient who needs neurological and orthopedic rehab.”

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