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Baltimore startup uses video game technology to improve physical therapy experience

03/05/2014

Xiaoxu Kang is shooting high. The Johns Hopkins Ph.D. student turned entrepreneur wants to make exercise fun.

Kang’s company Rehabtics is developing a software program called ArmSPOT that would allow patients to complete physical rehabilitation workouts in the comfort of their own living room. The system aims to make patients more engaged in their rehab and improve their outcomes by turning workouts into a game. The system’s capability to send data about patients’ workouts to their doctors allows doctors to better track progress. It also gives patients the extra push to follow through on their doctors’ orders.

The company, started in October 2012, is part of a $158,000 grant awarded toUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore physical therapy and rehabilitation professor Jill Whitall. The award is backed by the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program and Rehabtics. The company will work with Whitall to advance its product.

Rehabtics has received a total of $250,000 in funding so far. Rehabtics is looking to raise additional money by June or July but Kang declined to say how much. The seven-person company is based at the ETC at Johns Hopkins Eastern.

The startup’s software program uses motion cameras to translate patients’ movement to avatars on their computer screens. The program allows users to choose exotic destinations for their workout, like the beach, and awards prizes and badges for reaching goals.

Meanwhile the system sends data about patients’ workouts to their doctors whenever they complete an exercise or task. It is intended to be a more affordable and portable alternative to robotic exercise devices that must be used at a hospital or clinic and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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