Projects‎ > ‎


Interactive Computer-based Therapy System (iCTuS) and Paediatric Interactive Therapy System (PITS)

Conventional physical therapies address nervous system recovery via manipulation of the periphery. Our system is based on the concept of action observation and imitation ("mirror neuron system"). Patients observe and perform reach-and grasp motor tasks using virtual limbs displayed on the screen in front of them, wearing data gloves with position trackers. By adjusting the mappings of real arm movements onto on-screen virtual arm movements, therapists can implement different therapy modes:

  • Paretic virtual limb mirrors healthy real limb movement (mirror therapy)
  • Paretic virtual limb follows healthy real limb movement (reverse mirror therapy)
  • Paretic virtual limb moves twice as far as paretic real limb (movement boosting)
  • Healthy virtual limb cannot move at all, patient must move using paretic limb only (constraint-induced movement therapy, CIMT)

The basic idea is that by seeing on-screen representations of the paretic limb with normal functionality), patients are encouraged to perform tasks and to actively try to imitate what they see on the screen. The assistance provided by the therapy system is changed and/or reduced as they recover. 

The system has been constructed and tested on stroke patients (iCTuS/arm) in multiple rehabilitation clinics. We are also developing a version for lower limb rehabilitation and treatment of pain (iCTuS/leg) in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients. 

iCTuS and PITS incorporate size-adjustable devices designed for use by children and adults from the age of 6 upwards. The following entertaining training scenarios are currently available:
  • Toy Catching: intercept incoming toys to score points.
  • Catch the Carrot: gather the carrots while fending off the evil rabbit.
  • Tomato Juggling: juggle the falling eggs and tomatoes into the boxes.


  • Virtual Rehabilitation 2008: best paper (Pyk et al.)
  • Swiss Society for Rehabilitation Congress 2008: best poster (Wille et al.)
  • Swiss Society for Rehabilitation Congress 2010: best poster (Wick et al.)

Funding: NCCR Neuro, Gebert Ruef Stiftung, Donation via UBS AG, Gaydoul Stiftung

Partners: Kinderspital Zurich, Unispital Zurich, Reha Rheinfelden

Subpages (1): iCTuS / Leg