Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Of the five million stroke survivors living in the United States, it is estimated that half of them live with moderate to severe impairment of their arm or hand.
The REACT lab is improving a device known as RAE (the Resonating Arm Exerciser) that has been shown to improve the arm function of chronic stroke patients. This device constitutes a lever that can be attached to the pushrim of any manual wheelchair to convert it into a therapeutic rocking chair. Elastic bands and an arm support stabilize a patient’s arm and allow them to make forward and backwards reaching movements around a healthy resting position.
The final design will feature an easy to operate telescoping function that will allows therapists, family members, or even patients themselves to install the device on any wheelchair with minimal training. It is imperative that the device not rotate once installed, to ensure that a patient’s arm is properly supported throughout their exercise. Achieving this simultaneous simplicity and stability is essential for this device to be pragmatic in a patient’s home, and in community and clinical rehabilitation settings around the world.