The convergence of healthcare, instrumentation and measurement technologies will transform healthcare as we know it, improving quality of healthcare services, reducing inefficiencies, curbing costs and improving quality of life. Smart sensors, wearable devices, Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, and big data offer new and exciting possibilities for more robust, reliable, flexible and low-cost healthcare systems and patient care strategies. These may provide value-added information and functionalities for patients, particularly for those with neuro-motor impairments.
In this talk the focus will be on: hardware and software infrastructure for neuro-motor rehabilitation; distributed instrumentation and communication standards; motor rehabilitation based on virtual reality and serious game; use of cloud computing for healthcare monitoring; use of mobile technologies for data storage data communication related to patients’ care; wearable sensor network integration with unobtrusive sensing technologies; Internet of Things technologies; data processing, data presentation that may assist healthcare professionals in objective, accurate assessment of patients’ motor activity and health status during daily activities; systems that support personalization of healthcare; systems that promote independent living and empower individuals and their families for self-care and healthcare management.
Technologies for unobtrusive measurement of patient posture and balance, patient’s muscles activation, movements’ characterization during neuro-motor rehabilitation will be presented and discussed during the talk. As part of these interactive environments, 3D image sensors for natural user interaction with rehabilitation scenarios and remote sensing of user movement, represented by Leap Motion Controller and Kinect, as well as thermographic camera for muscle activity evaluation will be presented. Instrumented daily used equipment for rehabilitation, such as smart walkers and crutches, force platform and wearable motor activity monitors based on smart sensors embedded in clothes and accessories for muscular activity monitoring by electromyography (EMG), force and acceleration measurement capabilities will be presented and discussed. Sensing technologies as part of smart tailored environments, such as piezo-resistive force sensors, e-textile EMG, microwave Doppler radar, MEMS inertial devices for motion measurement and optical fiber sensors will be presented in the context of IoT technologies, where RFID is used for smart object identification and localization in the augmented reality scenarios for therapy. Challenges related to simple and secure connectivity, signal processing, data storage, risk on data loss, data representation, data analysis including the development of specific metrics that can be used to evaluate the progress of the patients during the rehabilitation process will be discussed. Additional remote sensing technologies including thermography for training effectiveness evaluation will be also considered.
A network of physical things/objects, as part of smart environment, which is based on sensors and embedded platforms with Internet connectivity will collect and exchange data on monitored subjects under physical rehabilitation that may involve also the usage of serious games based on virtual and augmented reality. Training using these technologies may improve patients rehabilitation outcomes, may allow objective evaluation of the rehabilitation progress, early communication between health professionals, health professionals and their patients but also may support the research based on analysis of big data.