[Conference Item] Wearable Haptic Devices For PostStroke Gait Rehabilitation

Abstract

Wearable technologies, in the form of small, light and inconspicuous devices, can be designed to help individuals suffering from neurological conditions carry out regular rehabilitation exercises. Current research has shown that walking to a rhythm can lead to significant improvements in various aspects of gait.

Our primary aim is to provide a suitable, technology based intervention to enhance gait rehabilitation of people with chronic and degenerative neurological health conditions (such as stroke). This intervention will be in the form of small, lightweight, wireless, wearable devices the user can take out of the clinic, extending their rehabilitation to their own home setting. The devices can deliver a series of vibrations at a steady rhythm giving the patient a more stable and symmetric pace of walking.

The simplest version of this approach typically comprise of a very small network of just two nodes and a central controller. The existing prototypes (called the Haptic Bracelets) capture and analyse motion data in real time to provide adaptive haptic (through vibrations) cueing. In the future and after more refinement, the system could allow a single therapist to monitor and advise groups of stroke survivors undergoing therapy sessions.

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Figure 1: A Haptic Bracelet device strapped on user’s leg.

Figure 2: Participant using the Haptic Bracelet devices

 

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