UTB student develops video game for stroke therapy (2019)


Muhammad Nur Al-Hafiz bin Haji Hamidi with his project, ‘Stroke Recovery Tool using Arduino for Stroke Rehabilitation’. – RAHWANI ZAHARI




BY Danial Norjidi

A LOCAL student from Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB) has developed a video game aimed at helping stroke patients.

The ‘Stroke Recovery Tool, using Arduino for Stroke Rehabilitation’ created by Muhammad Nur Al-Hafiz bin Haji Hamidi, was displayed during the UTB Project Showcase 2019 on May 18.

For his project, Muhammad Nur Al-Hafiz developed a cost-effective PC game prototype for the upper limb rehabilitation of stroke patients. The game involves manoeuvring a plane across obstacles, and is controlled using an ultrasonic sensor, where in-game movement is based on the distance between the sensor and the user’s hand.

Explaining the inspiration behind the project, Muhammad Nur Al-Hafiz said, “The idea came from my grandmother, who was affected by stroke three years ago. When I saw her struggling with therapy, she said it was boring, as at that time the only therapy available was stacking blocks of wood and drawing.

“Then the idea came as I wanted to do something for her.”

He said that his grandmother has tried the game, “She thinks that it can help stroke patients and motivate them.”

According to the project overview, stroke rehabilitation is one of the most crucial phases of recovery for stroke survivors, and that the loss of half of the body functions is common among stroke survivors.

It also states that for better and faster recovery, rehabilitation needs to be done shortly after a stroke happens to stimulate neuroplasticity.

The overview notes that while conventional therapy can be tedious and demotivating, the use of robotics in rehabilitation is very costly; and these factors are driving the need for an accessible, affordable and effective alternative.

It was revealed that video games have opened a door to a new therapeutic pathway that can help to overcome attention deficit disorders, leading to faster recovery.

As Muhammad Nur Al-Hafiz explained, “Usually, stroke patients have difficulties in maintaining their motivation to do the therapy. So this game intends to motivate them to do therapy by themselves. Playing this game helps them to improve their neuroplasticity, which in turn helps them remember the movement.”

He noted that the game has a scoring mechanism which sends patients’ scores to a database for healthcare professionals to monitor their progress, by using line charts.

Information displayed during the UTB Project Showcase 2019 showed the improvement of a certain patient after playing the game.

From the analysis and results obtained during the experiment, it can be concluded that the use of video games helps to improve the attention of patients doing rehabilitation, increasing the likelihood of neuroplasticity leading to a faster recovery.

Muhammad Nur Al-Hafiz, meanwhile, expressed hope that the project can be used by healthcare centres.

“My project also aims for therapy at home, but professionals are able to do monitoring at the healthcare centres,” he said.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin