We research and develop video game-like Pre-Action Games and Exercises for survivors of stroke and/or traumatic brain injury. Our ‘games’ and ‘exercises’ include survivor-controlled virtual limbs and a wearable hand movement device. Our objectives are to enable survivors to independently control virtual limbs, improve brain-to-physical-limb communications and regain movements of impaired limbs. Please let us know what you think of what we do.
Pre-Action Games & Exercises (PAGE)
PAGE is video game-like, non-invasive and entertaining.
‘Playing’ PAGE closely relates to a significant natural ability: kinesthetic imagery (also known as motor imagery). It means visualizing (thinking about) body movements before making them. So, for acquired brain injury survivors who ‘think’ of making an impaired limb move, we present virtual limbs. Virtual limbs are independently controlled to act out ‘thinking’ about making physical limb movements.
Controlling virtual limbs represents transitioning from ‘thinking’ movements to manipulating virtual limbs as though they are real limbs. Controlled virtual limbs act to simulate physical movements planned by acquired brain injury survivors. The PAGE process produces useful, visible limb movement feedback, i.e. virtual visuomotor feedback rather than merely imagined feedback.
The basis of our work is that all physical limb movements are pre-mapped in the brain. Pre-mapped movements are simulated movements which precede physical limb movements. Survivors visualizing limb movements and then controlling virtual limbs to simulate physical movements are reenacting natural brain processes.
Wearable Hand Manipulation Device (WHMD)
We developed coding for a WHMD which attaches to an impaired hand. The WHMD receives signals and manipulates a survivor’s physical hand as a survivor controls a virtual hand. The WHMD gently, physically manipulates and exercises a physical impaired hand. The combined actions, PAGE+WHMD, contribute to cognitive and physical processes.
Digital Support of Neuroplasticity
The brain’s power of neuroplasticity is each survivor’s best friend. We provide PAGE + WHMD to support the power of neuroplasticity in specifically anatomically useful ways.
Our plan is to provide WHMDs and make PAGE available to acquired brain injury survivors via PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. When we succeed, anyone will be able to play PAGE/WHMD wherever a digital signal is received. PAGE is designed to help survivors turn the page to improved movement of impaired limbs and improved activities of daily living.