Healthcare Innovation: Wearable Tech


Patients receiving treatment from KentuckyOne Health Neurology Associates and Multiple Sclerosis Care in Lexington now have a new, engaging way to work on repairing the fine motor functions in their hands following a stroke or other disability. Music Glove, an FDA approved rehabilitation device that improves hand function through a music-based game.HCI_Music-Glove-June-61-cropped

MusicGlove is designed to improve hand function after:

  • Stroke
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Neurologic and muscular injury
  • Developmental disability

Occupational therapists from Saint Joseph Hospital Rehabilitation at the Beaumont Centre Family YMCA are also using this new technology.

Funding for the Music Glove technology was provided by a grant from the Unruh Charitable Foundation operated by Victor and Jeannie Unruh in New Albany, Ind. Services for multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are a key focus of the foundation’s charitable giving.

Making Recovery Fun

The new device, designed for integration into existing clinical rehab programs, allows users to play a game by making specific hand movements along with scrolling notes on a screen. The notes are timed to the beat of several fun and upbeat songs. The game helps patients practice the pincer grasp and key pinch grip, which are vital to regaining the ability to use the hand for most activities of daily living.

The interactive nature of the game allows users to complete hundreds of repetitions in a 15-minute session without feeling like they are doing intensive therapy. This type of engaging activity is critical for promoting the neural reorganization required for long-term improvements after a stroke or other neurological injury.

“We know it can be hard to keep patients motivated and engaged in their recovery process,” said Nancy Heckler, nurse navigator for KentuckyOne Health Neurology Associates and Multiple Sclerosis Care. “Fun, activity-based rehab improves morale while helping patients see meaningful results.”

Timed sessions can be selected to partially automate the therapy, and patients receive immediate feedback on their performance after each song is completed. The software also includes an analytics suite, allowing therapists and patients to track the amount of use and improvements over time.

“Music Glove is fun and game-like. Everybody enjoys having a meaningful task and that’s what it provides during therapy,” said Violet Sellers, an occupational therapist with Saint Joseph Hospital Rehabilitation. “The technology also keeps the patient focused and engaged because it is a continuous task. The analytics portion of the program allows patients to see their progress each week and helps them to see how therapy is improving their fine motor function.”

The Music Glove is designed for those with mild to moderate impairment of the hand as a result of a stroke, multiple sclerosis or other disability. It can be adjusted for varying levels of mobility by changing grips, song selection and other variables.

HCI_Music Glove GraphExercise with the MusicGlove has been shown to:


  • Lead to significantly greater improvement in hand function than conventional table-top therapy in people with chronic stroke.
  • Lead to functional improvements such as: opening a door, washing dishes, typing, and using the restroom independently.
  • Provide an effective therapy regimen both in the home and clinic.
  • Motivate safe, high-intensity movements.
  • Provide detailed feedback of hand function that is highly correlated with established clinical measures.
  • Provide longitudinal assessment of motor recovery.

David McArthur is with KentuckyOne Health.