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Physio for the home
Date:1/14/2013

Though the skier glides skillfully across the snow-covered landscape, still he stumbles on an icy section of the piste and loses his balance, ending his well-earned winter break in a hospital bed. After the operation, physiotherapy is supposed to help restore mobility. This demands considerable patience and perseverance on the part of the patient. Many people with these sorts of injuries would find it easier to do the exercises at home rather than hanging around the rehabilitation clinic for weeks on end. It's also important that patients continue to exercise at home following a lengthy stay in hospital.

A new technology has been designed to give future patients added motivation to do their exercises, allowing them to perform physiotherapy exercises at home or when out and about during breaks at work, for instance. Experts call this telerehabilitation. Underpinning this is a technology developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems FOKUS in Berlin, consisting of an exercise editor, a physio box and a mobile sensor unit that connects to a smartphone. The therapist uses the exercise editor to work up a training program tailored to the individual patient, increasing the intensity from week to week. The patient can then run the program at home using the physio box, a sort of mini-PC for televisions. The small computer boasts internet connectivity, a camera and a microphone. Exercise routines are displayed on the TV screen for the patient to copy. The physio box analyzes the data recorded by the camera as the patient does the exercises. Beforehand, software is used to map each patient's bodily characteristics in 3D and translate them into a biomechanical computer model. Once the data has been interpreted, the box sends it via the internet to the rehabilitation center, where the therapist sees how the patient is progressing and can adapt the exercises accordingly.

Mobile unit to measure movement and vital sign
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Contact: Michael John
michael.john@fokus.fraunhofer.de
49-303-463-7400
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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