A stroke occurs when a blood vessel (artery) which transports blood to the brain becomes blocked or ruptured. When this happens, a part of the brain stops receiving oxygen, since blood transports oxygen to the brain. When the brain stops receiving oxygen, brain damage occurs very quickly. Depending on the region of the brain which has been affected, strokes can cause problems such as problems speaking, impaired motor functions and weakness in the arms or legs.
Strokes can result in death, but for the many people who survive them every year their quality of life has often been lowered due to the brain damage suffered. Estimates vary, but it is believed that around 700 to 800 thousand Americans suffer from strokes every year. Over seven million Americans are stroke survivors. The rehabilitation options for stroke survivors are often expensive and limited, but a Canadian company is now offering an affordable and readily available option for stroke therapy.
Jintronix was founded in 2010 and is based in Montreal. Company CEO Justin Tan has personal experience dealing with stroke rehabilitation, since his father suffered from a stroke on an airplane, totally paralyzing his body’s right side. It was during his father’s rehabilitation that Justin realized current treatment options were inadequate, which eventually caused him to develop video game based rehab programs. Originally the Nintendo Wii, with the Wii Remote was used as the platform to develop the rehab programs, but Jintronix has switched to the Microsoft Xbox in order to develop therapeutic games, utilizing Microsoft Kinect. For those who are unaware, Kinect is a motion sensing device that allows people to play games interactively. It is similar to the motion control offered by Nintendo, with the Wii Remote, and PlayStation, with the Move controller, but unlike Sony and Nintendo’s motion sensing technology, Kinect does utilize a controller. While people play Kinect based games, performance is stored by the system and can later be reviewed by therapists. Recently the Food and Drug Administration has approved Jintronix’ software for rehabiliation purposes, providing stroke patients with an alternative, affordable rehabilitation option.