Portable kit for the assessment of gait parameters in daily telerehabilitation

When designing a complete process of daily telerehabilitation, it should be borne in mind that patients should be furnished with properly designed methodologies for performing specific motion tasks and the assessment of the pertinent parameters. Typically, such a process should comprehend three basic elements in both the hospital and the home: (a) instrumented walkways, (b) walking aids or supports, and (c) equipment for the assessment of parameters. The authors, who had focused on gait, stated that the objective of this study was therefore to design a simple, portable kit-as an alternative to the complex and expensive instruments currently used-to be easily interfaced or integrated with the instrumented walkways and aids/supports both for self-monitoring while patients are exercising with their own aids and for clinical reporting. The system suggested was a portable kit that supplies useful parameters with feedback to both the patient and the trainer/therapist. Capable of being integrated with the most common mechanical tools used in motion rehabilitation (handrail, scales, walkways, etc.), it constantly monitors and quantitatively assesses progress in rehabilitation care. It was composed of one step counter, photo-emitter detectors, one central unit for collecting and processing the telemetrically transmitted data, and a software interface.

The system has been successfully validated on 16 subjects at the second level of the Tinetti test in a clinical application for both home and the hospital. The portable kit can be used with different rehabilitation tools and on varying ground rugosity.  The authors suggested that possible benefits of the system include (a) very low cost, when compared with optoelectronic solutions or other portable devices, (b) very high accuracy, also for subjects with imbalance problems, compared with other commercial solutions, and (c) integration (compatibility) with any rehabilitative tool.

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