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Technology for Neurological Rehabilitation - Upper Limb

Within the last year, the service has added a couple of pieces of technology to help promote use and meaningful function of the hand and arm. The main patient users have been those who have had a Stroke.

Here follows a commentary explaining a bit about these pieces of technology and their ideal applications from a clinicians perspective.

The PlayBall

The PlayBall connects to a tablet via Bluetooth. There are games for rehabilitation focussing on control of circular movement and also strength (by pushing down or squeezing the ball).

Example videos of some PlayBall games:

Additional features are aimed at cognitive stimulation. Some patients live with a spouse who has Dementia. These cognitive games have been used by patient's spouses while Physiotherapy focusses on other work with the patient, meaning the household as a whole benefits from the therapist visit.

The PlayBall has been found to be a useful piece of equipment working on control of the upper limb coming from the shoulder/elbow and gross motor control of the hand with squeezing. Feedback has included enjoyment using it, and with seeing improvement in scores achieved during the games. It seems to be an interesting tool to add to engagement levels in sessions.


This device requires Wifi or mobile hotspot to link the tablet to the GripAble tool. It focusses work on movements of the wrist and gross hand strength (grip). The individuals ability can be calibrated and ability accommodated for playing the games.

Example videos of GripAble games:

The GripAble is felt to be most useful when working with cases to rehabilitate hand/wrist movement and function. It can be used to compliment traditional rehabilitation work further involving fine motor control when working on ultimately achieving functional goals, such as doing up buttons for dressing. Additionally it is a great motivator when patients see their game scores improving.

Both PlayBall and GripAble can be used during treatment sessions with Capital Community Physio. Furthermore, these devices can sometimes be hired weekly for a small fee, dependant on service demands. Alternatively patients can be signposted how to get their own.

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