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A virtual-reality-based telerehabilitation system with force feedback

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4 Author(s)
Popescu, V.G. ; CAIP Center, Rutgers Univ., Piscataway, NJ, USA ; Burdea, G.C. ; Bouzit, M. ; Hentz, V.R.

A PC-based orthopedic rehabilitation system was developed for use at home, while allowing remote monitoring from the clinic. The home rehabilitation station has a Pentium II PC with a graphics accelerator, a Polhemus tracker and a multi-purpose haptic control interface. This novel interface is used to sample a patient's hand positions and to provide resistive forces using the Rutgers Master II (RMII) glove. A library of virtual rehabilitation routines was developed using WorldToolKit software. At the present time, it consists of three physical therapy exercises (DigiKey, ball and Power Putty) and two functional rehabilitation exercises (peg board and ball game). These virtual reality exercises allow automatic and transparent patient data collection into an Oracle database. A remote Pentium II PC is connected with the home-based PC over the Internet and an additional video conferencing connection. The remote computer runs an Oracle server to maintain the patient database, monitor progress and change the exercise level of difficulty. This allows for patient progress monitoring and repeat evaluations over time. The telerehabilitation system is undergoing clinical trials at Stanford Medical School, with progress being monitored from Rutgers University. Other haptic interfaces currently under development include devices for elbow and knee rehabilitation connected to the same system.

Published in:

Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 1 )