Research

Wearable computer vision system for monitoring hand use at home

The recovery of upper limb function is rated as the number one priority by individuals with cervical spinal cord injuries. In order to improve upper limb rehabilitation outcomes, it is essential to accurately measure the effectiveness of new approaches. There is currently no method that can provide reliable information about how much and how effectively an individual is using their hands once they leave the clinical environment and return home. To remedy this problem, we are developing a new system, based on wearable cameras and computer vision technology, which will monitor interactions of the hand with objects in the environment, and serve as the basis for a novel set of metrics reflecting independent hand use in the community. Members of the NET team who are collaborating on this research include Drs. José Zariffa, Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan, and Cathy Craven.

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FES Therapy for Standing Balance

Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is an intervention whereby an electrical current is applied to the peripheral nervous system to cause muscles to contract during functional activities, such as walking. One prevalent and critical health problem that FES has not been applied to is impaired balance, or the inability to keep one’s center of mass within one’s base of support, during standing. Interventions that improve standing balance in a clinically meaningful way are needed to facilitate the recovery of safe upright mobility in people with SCI, and address the current health crisis of falls. To address this gap in rehabilitation, we are developing and evaluating a clinically-feasible FES system for the training of standing balance. Members of the NET team who are collaborating on this research include Drs. Masani and Musselman.

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MyndMove

MyndMove is a non-invasive therapy that combines patient participation, therapist expertise and the MyndMove functional electrical stimulation (FES) device to restore voluntary hand and arm function in patients suffering from upper-limb paralysis. The MyndMove device is a single system comprised of several parts (1) embedded stimulation protocols that can elicit over 30 different reaching and grasping movements, (2) an 8 channel stimulator that can stimulate up to 8 different muscle groups in a single stimulation protocol, and (3) an intuitive user interface allowing therapists to select and deliver personalized therapy. MyndMove is Manufactured by our start-up company MyndTec Inc. is Health Canada and US FDA Approved.

FES Garment
REL is working with Myant Inc. to develop a new generation of stimulation device: the FES garments. Those shirts and pants made of conductive and non-conductive fabric are currently designed with the help of end-users (“Neuro-orthosis Interview” study). You want to help? Learn more about that study. They will also be tested soon with stroke-survivors and individuals with spinal-cord injury (“Garment-Grasping” study).