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ARMStrokes Feng, JinJuan06MFARMStrokes

Towson University

Every year, around 795,000 people have a stroke in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Often facing long-term disabilities that affect cognitive, physical and speech functions, less than one third of stroke survivors complete the recommended exercises for their rehabilitation.

In order to make recovery easier and more accessible, Towson University professor Jinjuan (Heidi) Feng, along with colleagues Sonia Lawson and Ziying Tang, created ARMStrokes — an app survivors can use to perform home exercises that will improve movement in their affected arm. The app, completed in spring 2015, also allows timely communication between survivors, therapists and caregivers, so progress may be monitored effectively.

The built-in sensors of a smart phone detect motion, preventing the need for any additional equipment and keeping the app’s cost low. The app also lets medical professionals customize the exercises to fit each survivor’s needs.

“With the rapid development in mobile technology, we have the opportunity to help address problems (such as lack of motivation or poor communication) through a low cost, easily accessible solution,” Feng said.

The team is now using the app in field studies with the University of Maryland Rehabilitation and Orthopaedic Institute, Good Samaritan Hospital and Howard County General Hospital’s stroke support group.