Glove-Based Technology in Hand Rehabilitation

Glove-Based Technology in Hand Rehabilitation

Jamie Taylor (University of Ulster, Northern Ireland) and Kevin Curran (University of Ulster, Northern Ireland)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8200-9.ch049


Injuries to the hand are more common than those of any other body region and can have considerable financial, time-measured and psychological impact on not only the victim but the community as a whole. Hand rehabilitation aims to return people to their pre-injury roles and occupations and has proved largely successful in doing so with the potential for technology to improve these results further. However, most technology used in hand rehabilitation is based on expensive and non-durable glove-based systems and issues with accuracy are common among those which are not glove-based. The authors outline an accurate, affordable and portable solution wherein the authors use the Leap Motion as a tool for hand rehabilitation. User feedback will be given primarily through an animated 3d hand model as the user performs rehabilitative exercises. Exercise results will be recorded for later viewing by patients and clinicians. The system will also include Gamification aspects, techniques which (while proven to increase participation) have seen little to no use in hand-rehabilitation systems.
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2. Hand Injuries

It is estimated that treatment for hand injuries costs the UK approximately £100 million per year. However, this problem spans much farther than the UK; the US for example, spends approximately $18 billion treating upper extremity disorders and Germany spends approximately €2 billion treating severe trauma with a ratio of 25 patients per 100,000 of the population (Dias & Garcia-Elias, 2006). Looking at RSI as a more specific example, we see that RSI alone is estimated to cost UK employers approximately £300 million per year (Strategy One, 2008). This is again mirrored in other parts of the world, with the US spending approximately $20 billion on RSI compensation each year (Yassi, 1997). Of all the hand injuries described above, amputation is deemed the most expensive, replantation of the hand or some part of the hand can cost up to 1.6 times a patient’s annual salary. Nerve injuries are the second most expensive injury to treat, costing between €51,238 and €31,186 (Holmberg, et al., 1996). Speaking in more general terms, (Trybus, et al., 2006) calculate the mean cost of a hand injury to be $6126.76 or €4507.29. When discussing the financial impact of hand injuries, it is interesting to note the uneven distribution of direct to indirect cost. An example of a direct cost would be that of a surgical procedure whereas examples of indirect cost would include sick leave and outpatient travel. Direct cost was found to make up only 4% of the total expense whereas indirect costs made up the remaining 96% (Trybus, et al., 2006).

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