In the rehabilitation process, patients often do not accurately follow the instructions and exercises directed by their physiotherapists, either due to mistakes made on the part of the patient and/or their caregivers or the unwillingness of patients to completely follow these instructions. Rehabilitation treatments are also expensive, and therapists often have a high workload with limited time for each patient.
To address this problem, we developed a system to monitor and detect the walking activities and the correct walking gait patterns of the patient. During the rehabilitation treatment, the therapist together with the patient will use the system to set an optimum gait pattern for the patient to achieve. After that, when the patient is walking on their own or doing exercises, either in the rehabilitation center or at home or outside, the system will detect and feedback if the patient is exercising and if they are walking correctly, so that the caregiver can help the patient to correct their walking gait. Data of the foot pressure pattern, the rate of correct steps taken, and the amount and frequency of walking activities and exercises undertaken will be gathered for the therapist to view if necessary, and the system is incorporated with exercise and progress tracking functions to alleviate the workload of therapists in keeping track of multiple patients. With the possibility of remote intervention, this also has the effect of reducing the number of full therapy sessions required, thus bringing down rehabilitation costs.
Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages
Our solution consists of a wearable foot wrap with 8 strategically placed flexible pressure sensors to monitor the walking gait pattern of the patient via their walking foot pressure pattern. The walking foot pressure pattern data is transmitted to a smartphone application that uses algorithms to compare the current walking foot pressure pattern against the perfect walking foot pressure pattern set by the therapist to determine the correctness of the walking gait. Lights and sounds from the foot wrap will provide a visual indicator of whether the walking gait was correct or could be improved. Step tracking algorithms are also employed in the smartphone app to determine when the patient takes a step and count the number of steps taken by the patient, and this is used for exercise tracking by the app. The smartphone application also records all foot pressure pattern data, correctness comparison data, exercise data, patient progress data, and inputs from the therapist, to help the therapists and caregivers in the tracking of the progress of the patient. The user interface of the smartphone application is specially designed to be intuitive and easy to use for caregivers and patients, yet sufficiently informative for therapists.
This solution is targeted towards the rehabilitation industry, where a large part of physical rehabilitation involves getting patients to be able to walk and walk correctly. Looking beyond, this technology can also be used to create a system geared towards domestic use, where people without any serious ailments requiring rehabilitation are looking to improve their general walking gait. This technology could also be re-purposed for rehabilitation in other areas, such as hands.
The main customer benefits are in ensuring patient compliance and correctness in rehabilitation, reducing costs of rehabilitation, and increasing the efficiency of therapists through providing tracking tools. While there are solutions out there that are bulky, costly, and targets early-stage rehabilitation, there are fewer affordable and wearable solutions that target late-stage rehabilitation, which is what we are aiming towards. Unlike many solutions in the market that is complicated for users and has a high learning curve, our solution is designed from the beginning to be easy to use, providing users with only the necessary details in a friendly and intuitive manner.