When Hoyoung Ban, CEO of Korea-based Neofect, had a close family member suffer from a stroke, he was pained by how expensive and inefficient the rehabilitation was.
“Along with how sad we were, there was a huge financial burden in the rehabilitation process that our family had to afford. Yet it was not very cost-effective,” says Mr. Ban.
The experience motivated him to create the Rapael Smart Glove, a wearable that brings gamification into rehabilitation exercise for stroke survivors, integrated with software that measures the patient’s activity level and target’s activities.
“I found that the products available in the market were too big, heavy and expensive, so I thought of developing a smaller, cheaper, and lighter product,” Mr. Ban said.
Rapael smart glove offers game-like exercises so that patients can remain motivated and challenging throughout the rehabilitation process. The smart glove captures the hand and wrist movements, so that the data can be processed later.
Neofect’s team includes a former Samsung engineer, rehabilitation therapists and game developers. Rehab games are updated monthly to provide interesting and helpful tasks for the patients.
“Rehabilitation games are regarded as medicine, and we develop Rapael’s gamification contents as if we’re developing a medicine,” says Mr. Ban.
The solution was applied to a variety of rehabilitation patients that has neurological disorders, such as spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and even hand burns, according to the company.
Rapael isn’t the only rehabilitation glove on the market. Israel-based HandTutor provides similar smart glove for physical therapy solutions.
According to a recently published study, the rehabilitation robotics market is expected to grow dramatically, reaching $1.8 billion USD by 2020. Founded in June in 2010, Neofect received a $4 million USD series B this March from SBI Investment Korea, DSC Investments, and Sejong Venture Partners. Its previous investors include POSCO Venture Partners and K Partners.
Image Credit: NEOFECT