Tablet apps and dexterity: Comparison between 3 age groups and proof of concept for stroke rehabilitation

Rachel Kizony, Gabi Zeilig, Israel Dudkiewicz, Tamara Schejter-Margalit, Debbie Rand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: Touch screen tablet technology might be suitable for self-training of impaired dexterity poststroke. We compared performance of app-based hand activities in individuals without a disability from 3-age groups, and assessed the feasibility of using tablet apps in individuals with stroke. Methods: Experiment I included 172 Individuals without a disability: 79 young adults (26.2 [3.9] years old), 61 middle-aged adults (55.9 [5.1] years old), and 32 older adults (68.7 [3.0] years old). Experiment II included 20 individuals with stroke, aged 59.3 ± 13.7 years with impairment of the upper extremity. All participants performed the app-based "Tap-it" (tapping) task twice and the Nine Hole Peg Test. The stroke group practiced with additional apps and underwent clinical assessments. Results: Significant differences in the tapping task performance were found between the 3 age groups (dominant hand time: F(2,169) = 30.57; P = 0.0001; and accuracy F(2,169) = 25.20; P = 0.0001; nondominant hand time: F(2,169) = 35.09; P = 0.0001; and accuracy F(2,169) = 19.62; P = 0.0001). Of the 20 individuals with stroke, 15 were able to complete the 2 trials of the tapping task, but all participants reported enjoying the experience and thought the apps may have potential for stroke rehabilitation to improve performance of the stroke-affected hand. Discussion and Conclusions: Performance of tablet app-based hand activities was affected by impaired hand dexterity in older participants without a disability and in participants with stroke. Tablet apps may potentially provide a way to facilitate self-training of repetitive, task-oriented, isolated finger and hand movements to improve hand dexterity and function after stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurologic Physical Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2016 Neurology Section, APTA.


  • Aging
  • Dexterity
  • Stroke
  • iPad

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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