In addition to shaking hands with a robot to regain motor skills, stroke patients may be able to retrain their brains and recover hand motion by playing video games with a sensor glove developed at McGill University. Mechanical engineering students under Rosaire Mongrain produced the Biomedical Sensor Glove in cooperation with Montreal start-up Jintronix . The prototype has inertial measurement units to track the movement of the wrist, palm, and index finger. Patients play a video game involving a virtual hand that manipulates objects.
Associated software produces 3D models and lets patients monitor their progress at home. The system also sends data to treating physicians so they can keep tabs on the recovery process. "The glove could take on many forms, and even rings alone could be used," Mongrain says. "The technology could also benefit people learning surgery and instruments such as piano." Similar commercial gloves exist, but cost tens of thousands of dollars. By using cheaper sensors, the Biomedical Sensor Glove would cost about $1,000 to produce. Jintronix has submitted the idea to Grand Challenges Canada , an international development NPO, for funding. Yet another good reason to keep playing video games.