Strokes and disabilities are intertwined. The CDC reports that “Stroke[s] reduce mobility in more than half of stroke survivors age 65 and over.” Yet, there is hope on the horizon: A new technology from NeuroLutions, the IpsiHand, may be able to change these grim figures by boosting mobility in stroke victims’ hands.
The IpsiHand is a futuristic-looking device with three components: A headset that sits on the head like a science-fiction beanie, another piece that curls around the hand and upper arm, and a tablet computer.
NeuroLutions’ founder, Dr. Eric Leuthardt, got the idea for the IpsiHand after noticing something strange. “If you talk to a stroke patient, they can imagine moving their hand,” he said, “They can try to move their hand. But they just can’t actually move it.”
After a stroke, often one side of the brain is permanently affected, so a person can experience a loss of mobility on just one side of their body. Dr. Leuthardt theorized that the imagining wasn’t coming from the side of the brain affected by the stroke; it was coming from the unaffected other side of the brain.
The IpsiHand headset harnesses these electrical signals (the imaginings) and moves the exoskeleton around the hand, wrist, and hand in response. This signal-to-movement teaches the brain and the hand to work together again. According to Dr. Leuthardt, the IpsiHand can “essentially encourage the brain to rewire.”
The FDA has approved the IpsiHand for sale—stroke victims now have a possibility for improving their mobility.