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Injuries that interfere with an individual’s quality of life, such as stroke, introduce numerous challenges in the road to recovery. Through its line of technology-based rehabilitation products, Rehabtronics is making recovery a little bit easier.

A longtime TEC Centre tenant, Rehabtronics was originally born out of Professor Arthur Prochazka’s lab at the University of Alberta, focusing on the rehabilitation of the upper limb after injury. Inspiration for the first product came out of the fact that existing rehabilitation treatments for patients don’t always provide adequate treatment.

“The evidence is that they don’t provide meaningful improvement to people’s lives,” explains Rehabtronics CEO Dr. Rahul Samant.

Rehabtronics’ method of engaging patients through games incentivises patients to become more involved in their therapy, and to work harder and longer. The products also promote recovery by introducing realistic, everyday tasks into treatment. For example, instead of traditional therapy methods where the patient may squeeze a sponge, the ReJoyce device simulates real activities of daily life (ADLs) like turning a doorknob, opening a jar lid, or holding a pen.

“By interacting with the games, the patient gets better at the same activities that they need to do every day,” says Rahul.

A feature of the ReJoyce is the ReJoyce Automated Hand Function Test, or RAHFT. The RAHFT allows a therapist to quickly and quantitatively assess a patient’s hand and arm function, and track a patient’s progress over time. The test can be done in less than 10 minutes compared to current assessments that can take upwards of 45 minutes to complete. Because the RAHFT measures a number of activities, therapy can be personalized according to the patient’s needs.

Another product, the ReTouch, employs a large touch screen and proprietary software developed at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. The screen adjusts in horizontal and vertical planes and exercises a host of physical and cognitive tasks.

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“It’s excellent for training cognitive function, memory, focus, as well as range of motion, strength, endurance, speed, and accuracy of motion,” says Rahul.

Finally, the ReGrasp, worn on the wrist and arm, rehabilitates and restores fine motor function using electronic stimulation activated either by tapping or simple head nods.

“We’ve put it on stroke patients who have tried everything,” says Rahul. “We’ve put it on the patient, run through the exercise mode, and the patient can open and close their hand after a 20-minute session. The reactions are unbelievable; they’ve given up after using everything available.”

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The devices are globally distributed to over 25 countries by 17 distributors, and are marketed to clinics and hospitals, where patients access the devices through a clinician. Rehabtronics’ product line is both manufactured and sold from its location at TEC Centre in Enterprise Square.

As Rehabtronics starts to move into a growth phase, the team is looking at expanding into areas beyond the rehabilitation market.

“It’s been an interesting market for us to start out in and build a highly versatile team,” says Rahul. “To leverage our potential, we’re now looking at opportunities that are more direct-to-consumer.”

Learn more about Rehabtronics here.