Over the last couple of years, a noticeably strong rise in projects with regard to rehabilitation by making use of robotics has emerged. This is mostly because robotics have evolved in such a manner that they can now offer a very valuable service for an affordable price, not to mention the fact that “human health care” is on the decline due to shrinking budgets. With strokes being the leading cause of disability in the Western World and the knowledge that the rehabilitation from this is very intensive and takes many hours, the rise in non-human rehabilitation is very well explained.
In the VirtuRob project, the knowledge of Virtual Reality and robotics are combined in the realization of a special training system to recover arm and hand function. The aim of the project is to develop a system which makes therapy outside of the house close to obsolete. Training in a home situation gives back a lot of freedom to the patient and motivates the patient to keep pushing the limits.
In this project, there are different experimental devices that reduce the gravitational pull on the arm, reducing the need for muscle force. It does, however, still require an effort from the patient to keep stimulating the muscles in order to recover.