JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies

Development and evaluation of rehabilitation, physiotherapy and assistive technologies, robotics, prosthetics and implants, mobility and communication tools, home automation, and telerehabilitation

Editor-in-Chief:

Dr. Peter Rieckmann, Professor of Neurology, Center for Clinical Neuroplasticity, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremburg, Germany


JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies is a PubMed-indexed journal that focuses on the development and evaluation of rehabilitation and assistive technologies, including assistive living.

As an open access journal, JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies is read by both clinicians and patients. The journal fosuses on readable and applied science that reports the design and evaluation of health innovations and emerging technologies. It publishes original research, viewpoints, and reviews (both literature reviews and medical device/technology/app reviews). Articles are carefully copyedited and XML-tagged, ready for submission to PubMed Central.

Recent Articles

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Assistive Technologies

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive paresis of the extremities and the loss of manual functioning. Due to the severe functional impairment that the disease entails, ALS requires the provision of comprehensive nursing care and a complex set of assistive technology devices. To relieve caregivers and promote autonomy of people with ALS, robotic assistance systems are being developed. This trial aims to evaluate the acceptance of technology, in general, and of robotic arm assistance among people with ALS in order to lay the groundwork for the development of a semiautomatic robotic arm that can be controlled by humans via a multimodal user interface and that will allow users to handle objects and attend to their own bodies.

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Portable and Mobile Technologies for Rehabilitation

Adherence to prescribed medical interventions can predict the efficacy of the treatment. In physical health clinics, not adhering to prescribed therapy can take the form of not attending a scheduled clinic visit (no-show appointment) or prematurely terminating treatment against the advice of the provider (self-discharge). A variety of interventions, including mobile phone apps, have been introduced for patients to increase their adherence to attending scheduled clinic visits. Limited research has examined the impact of a mobile phone app among patients attending chiropractic and rehabilitation clinic visits.

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Back Pain

Low back pain (LBP) is the leading cause of worldwide years lost because of disability, with a tremendous economic burden for health care systems. Digital therapeutic care (DTC) programs provide a scalable, universally accessible, and low-cost approach to the multidisciplinary treatment of LBP. Moreover, novel decision support interventions such as personalized feedback messages, push notifications, and data-driven activity recommendations amplify DTC by guiding the user through the program while aiming to increase overall engagement and sustainable behavior change.

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Assistive Technologies

Goal setting is a key part of the rehabilitation process. The use of technology and electronic tools such as smartphone apps and websites has been suggested as a way of improving the engagement of users in meaningful goal setting and facilitating shared decision-making between patients and health professionals.

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Emerging Technologies for Rehabilitation

Persons with severe or profound intellectual disability and visual impairment tend to be passive and sedentary, and technology-aided intervention may be required to improve their condition without excessive demands on staff time.

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Assistive Technologies

With the projected upsurge in the percentage of people with some form of disability, there has been a significant increase in the need for assistive mobility devices. However, for mobility aids to be effective, such devices should be adapted to the user’s needs. This can be achieved by improving the confidence of the acquired information (interaction between the user, the environment, and the device) following design specifications. Therefore, there is a need for literature review on the adaptability of assistive mobility devices.

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Emerging Technologies for Rehabilitation

Accurately measuring postural sway is an important part of balance assessment and rehabilitation. Although force plates give accurate measurements, their costs and space requirements make their use impractical in many situations.

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Cognitive and Neurorehabilitation

Immersive technologies like virtual reality can enable clinical care that meaningfully aligns with real-world deficits in cognitive functioning. However, options in immersive 3D environments are limited, partly because of the unique challenges presented by the development of a clinical care platform. These challenges include selecting clinically relevant features, enabling tasks that capture the full breadth of deficits, ensuring longevity in a rapidly changing technology landscape, and performing the extensive technical and clinical validation required for digital interventions. Complicating development, is the need to integrate recommendations from domain experts at all stages.

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Innovations in Exercise Rehabilitation

Digital development has caused rehabilitation services and rehabilitees to become increasingly interested in using technology as a part of rehabilitation. This study was based on a previously published study that categorized 4 groups of patients with cardiac disease based on different experiences and attitudes toward technology (e-usage groups): feeling outsider, being uninterested, reflecting benefit, and enthusiastic using.

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Robotics in Rehabilitation

Globally, pressure is increasing on health and social care resources due to the aging population and growing prevalence of dementia. Companion robots, such as Paro, demonstrate strong potential for helping reduce this pressure through reported benefits including reduced agitation, depression, loneliness, care provider burden, and medication use. However, we previously identified that user-centered design of robot pets is both essential and understudied. We observed that commonly used robot pets are poorly matched to end-user requirements, and that end users and developers of robot pets differ significantly in their perception of appropriate design. This may explain some of the contradictory outcome research and variance in results for robot pets, such as Paro.

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Telerehabilitation

Heart failure is one of the world’s most frequently diagnosed cardiovascular diseases. An important element of heart failure management is cardiac rehabilitation, the goal of which is to improve patients’ recovery, functional capacity, psychosocial well-being, and health-related quality of life. Patients in cardiac rehabilitation may lack sufficient motivation or may feel that the rehabilitation process does not meet their individual needs. One solution to these challenges is the use of telerehabilitation. Although telerehabilitation has been available for several years, it has only recently begun to be utilized in heart failure studies. Especially within the past 5 years, we now have several studies focusing on the effectiveness of telerehabilitation for heart failure management, all with varying results. Based on a review of these studies, this paper offers an assessment of the effectiveness of telerehabilitation as applied to heart failure management.

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Emerging Technologies for Rehabilitation

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a physical disability that affects movement and posture. Approximately 17 million people worldwide and 34,000 people in Australia are living with CP. In clinical and kinematic research, goniometers and inclinometers are the most commonly used clinical tools to measure joint angles and positions in children with CP.

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