Robotics and Gaming Center

Robotics and gaming technology are rapidly becoming valuable tools in rehabilitation. These technologies allow for precise, measured, and varied repetition that can be adjusted for each person’s individualized care.

At the same time, gaming can make the repetition interesting by incorporating basic motions into a game format that can maximize progress, while minimizing boredom.

Our Robotics and Gaming Technology

Robotics and gaming technology available to patients of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute include the following:

GameCycle®: A hand-operated exercise bike with a gaming twist.
Invented at the University of Pittsburgh, the GameCycle combines a stationary hand cycle with a commercial video game, allowing you to get exercise while playing any Nintendo GameCube®.
How it works
  • Using both hands, you cycle forward or backward in a rowing motion to move the game character on the monitor.
  • You control the speed and direction of your character by how fast and in what direction you “row.”
What it does
  • The GameCycle provides:
    • Cardiovascular and balance exercise
    • Flexibility and strength training
Who it helps
  • Benefits people who have limited use of one or both legs due to:
    • Stroke
    • Brain injury
    • Spinal cord injury

Lokomat®: A robotic treadmill for people who can’t walk on their own.
With the assistance of robotic leg supports, the Lokomat provides treadmill training to people who are partially paralyzed or have limited use of one or both legs.
How it works
  • A therapist places you into a harness to suspend you over a treadmill.
  • Robotic sensors on the treadmill help your legs move in natural walking patterns.
What it does
  • The Lokomat allows you to build muscles in your legs while triggering different parts of the brain that control leg movement.
Who it helps
  • Benefits people whose recovery depends on active walking exercise, including:
    • Stroke
    • Spinal cord injury
    • Brain injury
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Neurological diseases and injuries

Nintendo Wii®: Turning rehab into “Wii-hab.”
In an inpatient therapy setting, we use the Wii both as a leisure-time activity and as part of a patient’s individual rehab routines.
How it works
  • You play various sports and recreational Wii games while:
    • Standing or sitting
    • Using one or both arms
What it does
  • Therapists can adapt your gaming experience to provide:
    • Balance
    • Endurance
    • Flexibility
    • Hand-eye coordination
    • Core stability exercises
Who it helps
  • Because of the variety and flexibility of the games, Wii benefits most people undergoing rehabilitation.

Armeo®: Task-oriented rehabilitation for weakened arms.
The Armeo partially compensates for the weight of your arm, allowing you to use your remaining strength to perform exercises. The Rehabilitation Institute uses Armeo’s original device, the Armeo®Spring, and was the first facility in the U.S. to receive the new Armeo®Boom.
How it works
  • You insert your arms into the device to move in all directions while:
    • Playing computer games, such as Solitaire
    • Completing simulated everyday tasks
What it does
  • The Armeo provides fun and motivating therapeutic exercise while “reminding” your brain how to control arm function.
Who it helps
  • Benefits:
    • Stroke patients who have limited use of one arm
    • People with spinal cord and brain injuries

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