Wearable Haptic Devices for Gait Re-education by Rhythmic Haptic Cueing

Islam, Riasat (2018). Wearable Haptic Devices for Gait Re-education by Rhythmic Haptic Cueing. In: 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2018), 2-6 Jul 2018, Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, BCS Learning and Development Ltd.

URL: http://hci2018.bcs.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/...


This research explores the development and evaluation of wearable haptic devices for gait sensing and rhythmic haptic cueing in the context of gait re-education for people with neurological and neurodegenerative conditions. Many people with long-term neurological and neurodegenerative conditions such as Stroke, Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease suffer from impaired walking gait pattern. Gait improvement can lead to better fluidity in walking, improved health outcomes, greater independence, and enhanced quality of life. Existing lab-based studies with wearable devices have shown that rhythmic haptic cueing can cause immediate improvements to gait features such as temporal symmetry, stride length, and walking speed. However, current wearable systems are unsuitable for self-managed use for in-the-wild applications with people having such conditions. This work aims to investigate the research question of how wearable haptic devices can help in long-term gait re-education using rhythmic haptic cueing. A longitudinal pilot study has been conducted with a brain trauma survivor, providing rhythmic haptic cueing using a wearable haptic device as a therapeutic intervention for a two-week period. Preliminary results comparing pre and post-intervention gait measurements have shown improvements in walking speed, temporal asymmetry, and stride length. The pilot study has raised an array of issues that require further study. This work aims to develop and evaluate prototype systems through an iterative design process to make possible the self-managed use of such devices in-the-wild. These systems will directly provide therapeutic intervention for gait re-education, offer enhanced information for therapists, remotely monitor dosage adherence and inform treatment and prognoses over the long-term. This research will evaluate the use of technology from the perspective of multiple stakeholders, including clinicians, carers and patients. This work has the potential to impact clinical practice nationwide and worldwide in neuro-physiotherapy.

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