Wearable technology can aid rehabilitation
Taking a cue from running enthusiasts who like to monitor every movement of their legs with GPS watches, Italian researchers are developing a wearable device that allows doctors to remotely monitor their patients’ progress in physical therapy exercises.
The device is worn around the trunk of the body, similar to a vest, and is made of conductive elastomers printed onto the fabric. These sensors are used to collect over 600 different movements at varying speeds that give the doctors a good sense of their patient’s range of motion, posture and flexibility throughout the day. This information helps them better tailor in-person physical therapy time to meet the patient’s needs.
So far, the device can only pick up movements in the core of the body and is not made for high-precision monitoring. But researchers say that it is an important step forward in developing portable, remote monitoring of rehabilitation.