WARF: P120323US01

Virtual Reality Rehabilitation for Stroke Victims


Andrea Mason, Leigh Ann Mrotek, David Kettner

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing an in-home rehabilitation system for improving hand function in stroke patients and others with upper-limb mobility impairment.
OVERVIEWResearch confirms that following injury the adult brain is capable of remarkable adjustments to take on changes in motor and sensory experience. For the four million Americans living with the effects of stroke, retraining the brain is a promising step towards renewed daily functioning.

The quality of rehabilitation is essential. While traditional approaches focus on physical manipulation of objects like blocks and puzzles, some virtual reality devices have been developed for tracking patient movement and displaying the results on a computer screen. Combining both strategies could support new forms of healing.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a low-cost rehabilitation system that provides a virtual reality environment in which a patient’s depicted hands manipulate simulated structures. Programmed tasks can be designed with increasing difficulty and progress data is reviewable by a therapist.

The Bimanual Rehabilitation Device (BiHRD) uses a depth-sensing camera positioned in a workspace to follow a patient’s hand and finger positions. According to predefined mapping between real and virtual space, a display represents one or both hands in a simulated environment. This display can be a computer screen or eye goggles worn by the patient. Elemental exercises may include grasping and controlling virtual objects.
  • Stroke and neurological rehabilitation
  • Tasks can be broken down into separately practiced and evaluated components.
  • Challenge levels can be tailored.
  • Customized practice sustains interest.
  • Performance is reviewable.
  • System isolates hand-eye control path to eliminate ambiguous or confusing sensory cues.
  • Operable at home with low cost
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Jeanine Burmania at or 608-960-9846.
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Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.