A smart glove to improve stroke rehabilitation

Professor Kai Yang with Sarah and Dave Lea, using the stroke glove

The prototype glove has been developed and made at Winchester School of Art, using the school’s industrial knitting machines. The electrodes are printed inside the sleeve and connected to an electronic control unit, allowing the user to vary the level of stimulation as required.

Professor Yang has worked with Different Strokes Southampton, a charity run by stroke survivors for stroke survivors, to develop the glove.

Through the charity, she has worked with stroke survivor Dave Lea, from Chandler’s Ford. He suffered a major stroke in 2015, at the age of 54, that has left him largely paralysed on his right-hand side. The glove enables him to move his paralysed right hand. “It’s life changing,” he said. “It means I can move my hand – something I’ve been unable to do for eight years.”

Mr Lea’s wife, Sarah, added: “It was really emotional seeing Dave test run the glove for the first time – it’s incredible that it enables him to move his hand. It really could change the lives of stroke survivors.”

Group of people smiling
Stroke survivor Dave Lea, with his wife Sarah and the E-textiles team

Ranj Parmar, Group Coordinator at Different Strokes Southampton and a stroke survivor himself, added: “The benefits of the stroke rehabilitation sleeve are extremely impactful. It allows stroke survivors to be able to continue their rehab many weeks and months after their stroke. It enables a stroke survivor to open their affected hand and when performed repeatedly it should enable the opening and closing of the hand more easily.”

Professor Yang is now looking to refine the design of the prototype glove by working with more stroke survivors, and then conduct a home usability test with stroke survivors using the glove multiple times every day. Following this, she intends to seek regulatory approval and then work with a manufacturer to scale-up the production of the glove.

“We are delighted with the prototype and would like to see this become a product that’s available to all stroke survivors, to help improve their recovery and their quality of life,” she said.

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