The Dutch Robotics project ATD, which is short for Active Therapeutic Devices, has the goal to reach new insights with regard to the development and integration of innovative technologies necessary to develop active therapeutic devices for the elderly. The new concepts that will hopefully be developed as a result of this project will increase the rehabilitation of the upper extremities that have been struck by neurological disorders.
The health care sector in many industrialized countries is being affected by the aging population. Since the elderly population is growing rapidly, this will lead to financial problems and problems with care. Elderly people are far more likely to suffer from a stroke then young people and we can therefore identify an increase in strokes per head of the population.
A stroke damages, or partly damages, cortex tissue, which makes it more difficult for the patient to process neural commands. It is possible that this muscle tissue is no longer activated at the same rate as it was before, which may lead to motor movement difficulties for the person. It is possible that after a stroke a person loses function in an arm and/or hand.
In the near future the concepts will let the patient train individually, without the help of a therapist, easing the load on the health care system. Patients can therefore train more frequently and more intensively, keeping up their motivation and improving the chances of recovery.