ASP projects

DEUHR – Digital Exergame for Upper limb and Hand Rehabilitation

The increase of life expectancy, together with a greater occurrence of many illnesses (such as stroke), has caused a huge demand for rehabilitation of chronically ill patients. In this context, therapists have a limited amount of time and resources available, thus impacting on the quality of care. On top of this, many dismissed patients tend to give up follow-up therapies as they may lose confidence in the process and feel unmotivated or abandoned.

The project Digital Exergame for Upper limb and Hand Rehabilitation (DEUHR) aims at addressing the afore-mentioned issues by introducing exercise gamification and ICT technologies in the patient’s treatment, either at home or in a rehabilitation facility. DEUHR is a telerehabilitation solution to treat post- stroke patients suffering from upper limb and hand motor chronic impairments. It has been developed together with Villa Beretta rehabilitation clinic, one of the leading actors in the rehabilitation panorama in Italy [1].

The DEUHR final product is composed of two main parts:

  • A prototype composed of two mobile applications, one for the patients to perform therapy through the exergame and another for the therapists to customise the training and continuously monitor the patients’ progress.
  • A demonstrator of the project (DEUHR1.0) intended as a possible phygital – both physical and digital – configuration of the final product for the patient. The physical device hosts one single-sensor (an inertial mass unit) to interact with the game on the screen, which features a fastening mechanism adaptable to different physical tools, enhancing the flexibility of the service.

Both components have been tested: laboratory tests measured the correlation between the output signals of DEUHR and the ones of a reference system, which showed significantly high values. Both the app prototype and DEUHR 1.0 were successfully tested by presenting them to some therapists and post-stroke patients.

Through DEUHR, patients are monitored outside of the therapist office, reducing abandonment of the treatment and disengagement of the patient. As a matter of fact, the gamification of the rehabilitation process can actively engage the patients because they can exploit rehabilitative exercises embedded inside the videogame.

Furthermore, DEUHR allows treatment delivery in the patients’ home, reducing the emissions due to physical transport and the congestion of healthcare facilities. The rehabilitation process becomes less time consuming also for the therapist, who can customise the treatment and monitor multiple patients by simply checking the app.

Another significant feature is that DEUHR applications are modular in their design, facilitating the addition of multiple exercise routines to the same patient (even from different medical specialists) and introduce brand new exercises in the app.

In the future, DEUHR could be extended to other body parts and other types of illnesses, both physical and cognitive, aiming at building a more inclusive social environment by inducing a faster reintegration of patients into the society.

Principal Academic Tutor
Paolo Perego, Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano

Academic Tutor
Mario Covarrubias Rodriguez, Department of MechanicalEngineering, Politecnico di Milano
Danilo Demarchi, Department of Electronics and Telecommunications (DET), Politecnico di Torino

External Institutions
Presidio dell’Ospedale Valduce “Villa Beretta” – Costa Masnaga (LC)

Team members
 Chiara Giovannini,
Biomedical Eng, PoliMi
Alessandro Celauro, Biomedical Eng, PoliTo
Paolo Tasca, Biomedical Eng, PoliTo
Chiara Noli, Biomedical Eng, PoliTo
Fedele Cavaliere, Digital and Interaction Design, PoliMi
Riccardo Volpiano, Mechanical Eng, PoliTo