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IATSL develops assistive technology that is adaptive, flexible, and intelligent, enabling users to participate fully in their daily lives. Learn more about our research

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Projects

RoboRehab: Social Gamified Therapy

Keywords: Robotic Therapy, Gamification, User-Centered Design, Home-Based Rehabilitation, Stroke, Upper Limb Impairment


Overview of Research

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability worldwide, affecting millions of individuals annually. Effective rehabilitation therapies include repetitive, high-intensity training that actively engages patients and tailors exercises to their residual function. However, patient compliance to such rigorous programs is often challenging due to, but not limited to, lack of motivation and boredom, feedback and confidence, and inability to do exercises by themselves during repetitive movements. To address this issue and alleviate the burden on therapists and healthcare systems, robot-mediated gamified therapy has emerged as a promising support for post-stroke rehabilitation.

The overall goal of this research is to advance the home-use of rehabilitation robots by developing an affordable, customizable, and engaging platform. Targeting stroke survivors with varying degrees of upper limb impairment. The aim is to support intensive independent exercises by adapting to patients' unique needs throughout their recovery journey while maintaining engagement and motivation.

The research objectives are divided into three distinct studies. The first focuses on utilizing user-centered design to iteratively develop a multi-sensor robotic platform for gamified, personalized rehabilitation exercises. The second study aims to enhance user engagement throughout rehabilitation by introducing AI-based controllers that adjust game difficulty dynamically, fostering flow state and intrinsic motivation. The third study will further develop features on the robotic platform to enable peer-to-peer interaction, incorporating competitive and cooperative game modes to harness extrinsic motivation, thereby boosting engagement and adherence to the rehabilitation program.

The significance of this research lies in its potential to revolutionize post-stroke rehabilitation by harnessing the capabilities of robot-mediated gamified therapy as well as supportive social interaction. By focusing on creating an affordable, customizable, and engaging home-use rehabilitation platform, this research addresses critical barriers to recovery, such as patient motivation, adherence, and the need for tailored therapeutic interventions.


Funding Sources

  • NSERC

Research Team

Alex Mihailidis, Ph.D., P.Eng. (University of Toronto)

Deniz Jafari, (University of Toronto)