Creators of a physical rehabilitation device for stroke patients that provides exercise programs on a tablet computer say they want to transform the lives of patients, as Roselle Chen reports.
When Virgilio Bento was 10 years old, his brother suffered a life-threatening car crash that required intensive rehab. He saw firsthand the challenges parents faced when dealing with someone who had to go through tough physiotherapy. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWORD SYSTEM, DEVELOPER, VIRGILIO BENTO, SAYING: "That stuck with me and we apply technology in so many different areas that I thought to myself, 'Okay, this is a huge challenge, a very important challenge that no one is looking at, no one is trying to solve, I will try to solve this and that's how SWORD Fenix was born." The Stroke Wearable Operative Rehabilitation Device (SWORD) is an exercise program that aims to transform the way stroke and accident victims recover physically. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SWORD SYSTEM, DEVELOPER, VIRGILIO BENTO, SAYING: "We developed a digital therapist that basically works like a human therapist will provide feedback to the patient, so we start by analyzing, digitizing the motion of the patient, which is what we use as a reference for normal movement, so we start with that and after that we feed that motion to a tablet where our digital therapist provides feedback to the patient." Bento's idea is simple -- to offer patients physical, interactive rehabilitation in the comfort of their own home by getting rid of the need for difficult and expensive visits to a physiotherapist at a clinic. His system will cost one tenth of traditional physiotherapy. Initial results show 93 percent of patients improved their motor skills by using the system. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) SWORD SYSTEM USER AFTER HIP SURGERY, ALVARO, SAYING: "At the end of each exercise, the results appear, it shows many times I did the movements, how many medals I've won. There is virtual compensation if you do the exercises well. It's kind of fun and ends up being a bit of a game as well." Bento aims to raise more than $4 million (USD) as he rolls out SWORD in the U.S. market.