eHealth innovation for stroke patients
Beta is involved in an exciting new eHealth project developing an innovative solution for stroke rehabilitation. With many patients finding it difficult to attend appointments and with restrictions imposed by Covid-19, home-based rehabilitation is becoming an attractive solution. The patients benefit from being in their home environment and healthcare providers can save time and resources through remote care.
Italian technology company Ab.Acus has developed an eHealth platform ‘RehabMe’ for upper limb rehabilitation in stroke patients. The product is a wearable device worn by the patient on the limb requiring therapy, with a set of smart labels placed on objects they use daily in the home. This provides a highly personalised exercise tool for the patient and is supported remotely by a therapist. The technology behind RehabMe uses radio frequency (RF) communication to identify interactions between the users and objects and the actual position of their hand. This allows automatic guidance of the patient to do functional exercises as part of the rehabilitation.
About the ROLLUP project
The new project ‘ROLLUP’ will enhance RehabMe by developing an engaging and portable workspace to improve the therapy. It will produce a flexible mat, equipped with RF tags, which are able to detect the positioning of the patient’s hand, with a matrix of LEDs to provide visual guidance. Using light-based signals, the patient will see spaces on the mat that they need to reach as part of an exercise, with a trajectory to guide their hand. This will make the rehabilitation system more usable, accessible, and customisable.
ROLLUP will use flexible electronics to embed, in a unique structure, the LEDs, tags, and electronics needed to communicate with and control the mat. In addition, using a Bluetooth module, the mat will be wirelessly connected to the RehabMe platform allowing it to work in synergy with the overall system.
To develop the technology within the mat, Ab.Acus have been successful in securing support from SmartEEs2, a collaborative project funded by the European Union´s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 872076). It aims to boost the competitive advantage of EU companies by offering acceleration support to innovative companies to integrate flexible and wearable electronics technologies. VTT in Finland, a SmartEEs2 partner, will be providing research and technical support to Ab.Acus. Our team at Beta has also been engaged to support the business planning and routes to exploitation of the new technology.
Maria Bulgheroni, Ab.Acus R&D Director said “we are excited to be running this innovative project. We believe that ROLLUP will help us to set up a disruptive approach to home-based physiotherapy, with the potential to make a difference to the way healthcare is provided to patients with chronic conditions”.