Rehab with zombie teddy bears

How many of us have moaned about rehabilitation exercises being boring?

What about exercises involving a purpose-built balance board with a built-in smartphone dock and games?

Swibo “Tilt” is another example of gaming technology being transferred into the health and wellness sector to complement traditional approaches.

The idea for the electrified Tilt balance board occurred to a group of students during a Victoria University Entrepreneur Bootcamp. Four of them – Ben Dunn, Connor Broad, Zac Bird and Lukas Stoecklein – took their computer science, media design and electronics engineering learning, added their gaming interests, and created Swibo Tilt.

An app measures the Swibo Tilt board’s movements, transfers data to the computer where the game is played and that data goes to a physiotherapist who can see how often the patient is playing, and where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

“The problem with rehab exercises is that when patients don’t do them, they’re undermining their recovery. With Swibo Tilt, we’re offering a more entertaining approach,” says Ben, CEO of Swibo, the company marketing Tilt.

“We have three games. NeoZen targets fine balance control and stability, Hexile tests reactionary balance and Unbearable where you fend off zombie teddy attacks using balance to fire at them.”

The team has tested Swibo Tilt with physiotherapists around New Zealand and with the New Zealand Artificial Limb Service to help patients with prosthetics regain confidence and mobility. It’s also being tested internationally with a lot of work in China, the US and Australia.

MedTech CoRE was there to help Ben and colleagues. “They provided opportunities for us to pitch for investment, gave us feedback and helped connect us to other innovators.”
Swibo Tilt is not limited to rehabilitation. It also has a role in sporting wellness. “It’s been used by Olympic athletes and high performance rugby, netball, hockey and soccer players. Better balance means fewer ankle sprains and anterior cruciate ligament tears.”

There are other opportunities for Swibo Tilt with an ageing population where balance-related injuries can be a major problem.
There are still challenges ahead, such as working with physiotherapists on how to incorporate Swibo Tilt into their practice, bringing down the cost of each board and market development.

By Prue Scott

Swibo Tilt Board