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An intelligent exercise machine for measurable and motivational neuro-muscular rehabilitation therapy

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An intelligent at-home exercise device improves patient rehabilitation outcomes

Every year millions of EU citizens, including those of working age, require physiotherapy. This number will continue to rise due to the growing number of elderly people, thereby placing healthcare systems under increasing pressure.

Health

Exercise systems for supporting rehabilitation therapy currently on the market often fail to provide effective treatment due to the needed bespoke training required to meet the needs of individual patients. As a trained therapist is required for each patient, there are long waiting lists, low compliance with rehabilitative training, and a lack of precise data concerning the patient’s progress. The EU-funded Enjoint project addressed these challenges by developing an intelligent exercise machine for neuromuscular rehabilitation therapy. The ‘robot’ provides accurate information about a patient while adapting physiotherapy training according to their injury and the progress they make. Constant feedback is also provided, thereby increasing patient motivation and adherence to the rehabilitation programme. Robot provides feedback Enjoint is a simple electric pulley system with a cord and handle. “The system is based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected to the Cloud, where all data and reports are generated,” says Jesper Heltzen, project coordinator, CEO and founder of the Danish SME, RoboFit ApS. This technology helps people who cannot lift their arm to its full extent. “The device measures the patient’s current range of motion and strength and can therefore provide the exact help in those areas where it is needed. In addition, patients receive both visual and tactile live feedback, telling them whether they are performing the exercises correctly,” Heltzen explains. Patients are asked to evaluate their pain before and after a training session. Using this information, the physiotherapist is able to assess whether the exercise should be adjusted. Once the physiotherapist has programmed the patient’s exercises, the patient can log into the system using a key card. The handle then moves to the starting position and once the patient grabs the handle, the first exercise begins. Multiple benefits The neuromuscular exercises are tailored to each patient based on their strength and motion curve as measured by the robot. “In this way, patients get help during the exercise when needed, as well as resistance in the exercise in areas where the pain is low, or the strength is high,” Heltzen comments. From the beginning, the goal of the project has been for the robot to also act as a home training system, giving the patients the possibility to train independently in their own homes. According to Heltzen: “the device is an easy, user-friendly and safe home training system, which is designed to hang on the wall and therefore does not need valuable floor space in the training area when not in use.” Enjoint has successfully increased patients’ compliance with their rehabilitation programme from 30 % to nearly 90 %. “This helps people to return to work faster, releases resources for the therapist, and saves money on sickness benefits and lost productivity. Therefore, caregivers, patients and national healthcare systems will all benefit from this unique system,” Heltzen concludes.

Keywords

Enjoint, exercise, training, rehabilitation, robot, physiotherapy, neuromuscular

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