NeuroCIMT Project 7: Ambulatory Sensing

Sensing and action to counteract maladaptation in motor performance

Improved motor performance of paretic limbs

Most of the patients having suffered a stroke undergo a period of intense training in a rehabilitation clinic before they can return home. During therapy, they learn how to use paretic limbs in an optimal way enabling them to live independently with maximum freedom of movement. But when they come home, many patients stop moving the affected limbs the way they were trained to, causing a deterioration in their overall motor performance. This project is aimed at improving the long term results of therapy by detecting and preventing maladaptive strategies and non-use of paretic limbs in daily life.

Small, unobtrusive sensing system
The researchers develop a small and unobtrusive sensing and feedback system patients can wear at home. This system should be able to measure for instance the amount and quality of movement of arms and legs, how much a patients walks, how often he or she is standing up straight, how much weight a patient puts on both of his legs, and if a patient is active or merely sitting in a chair all day. Furthermore, the system should also be able to provide useful feedback to increase and improve the use of the paretic limbs.

Minimal sensing
The researchers will search for the minimal sensing modalities needed to derive useful metrics. An earlier developed sensing system, able to reconstruct full 3D body motion, is too extensive for daily use. The system resulting from this research project should fit into a shoe or a watch in order to be accepted by patients.

Effective feedback
Furthermore, attention will be paid to invent effective ways of giving feedback to the patient to induce optimization of motor performance in daily life. Eventually, the resulting sensing and biofeedback system will be validated with both twenty healthy volunteers and twenty stroke and Multiple Sclerosis patients.

Application perspective
Coen Lauwerijssen, ‎Director Product Development & Marketing 2MEngineering
Our job is to support the researchers with our experience in sensor product development and industrialization, to translate research results into practical to make and use products. For example: the translation of the research algorithms into the embedded software of the product to provide direct and real-time feedback to the users. Next to that the final device should not need to be charged every day, data transmission from the sensors to the feedback system should be fast and secure, and the device itself should be small, flat and robust. The main challenge will be to convince customers to embrace this new technology. The fact that in this project medical partners are involved from the beginning, leads us to believe this step will be easier to take.’

Erasmus Medical Center, 2M Engineering, Motekforce Link, Ipsen Pharmaceutics, Roessingh Research and Development, University of Twente, VU University Medical Center, Xsens Technologies