The SANaR project capitalizes on the interrelation between motor and cognitive skills and deficits and builds on the hypothesis that an integrated rehabilitation system should combine both motor and cognitive skills because they are mutually dependent. This hypothesis is grounded on the observation that also in the brain motor and cognitive areas are highly interlinked and correlated as demonstrated in recent work on language and aphasia. The working hypothesis is that interconnected cortical circuits provide an opportunity for transcortical activation flow and thus facilitation and faster recovery. To promote this transcortical activation, SANaR provides multimodal interaction scenarios combining motor and cognitive tasks delivering intense, partially automated, monitoring and neurorehabilitation combining the versatility of virtual reality systems with a clinically and neuroscientifically grounded approach to rehabilitation. In order to achieve this goal SANaR will pursue three main objectives:
- Development and Implementation of the SANaR system: including evaluation and training scenarios for motor and cognitive rehabilitation
- Validate the usability and acceptance of the SANaR system
- Assess its impact in clinical and at home environments
The SANaR system integrates a number of advanced and well-tested innovative ICT technologies (i.e. Virtual Reality, 3D tracking system, audio recognition and reproduction, data analysis and management systems, social networking) into one novel system that delivers efficient at home rehabilitation. The core hardware technology of the SANaR system is well established, consisting of a PC that will be augmented with SANaR specific hardware and software components. Where possible we will rely as much as possible on off-the-shelf components to be able to provide a cost effective system. The system incorporates learning and adaptive systems that will allow automatically adjusting the content of the interactive scenarios to the performance and the needs of the user, making recommendations for rehabilitation or diagnostics that can be realized under further supervision by the health care provider. In addition, the SANaR system will allow the clinician and/or therapists to have remote access to the data reflecting the training and progress of the patient, to ensure the quality of the therapy. The SANaR system will also incorporate a number of alerts with the aim to provide general health monitoring towards primary and secondary users and the prevention of any health risks. The multitude of end users will have the possibility to be affiliated with the SANaR online social network for rehabilitation to counteract social isolation and facilitate the integration of content generated by users. This SANaR social network will allow the users to meet, socialize, engage in multiplayer games, and get technical help. We will evaluate the SANaR concept for motor and cognitive rehabilitation both in respect to its usability and safety as well as its clinical effectiveness. The SANaR project will quantitatively demonstrate these efficiency gains with respect to both the recovery of the patient and the improvement of their quality of life combined with a detailed quantitative analysis of its cost effectiveness as compared to traditional approaches.