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December 5, 2016

Sensor suit monitors and analyse stroke patients at home

The 30th of November, Bart Klaassen, PhD student at the University of Twente, defended his thesis. He is presenting the INTERACTION system, consisting of a suit with 41 sensors, which makes it possible to monitor stroke patients at home. The collecting, storing and processing of gathered data has also been included.

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Annually about 45.000 people in the Netherlands suffer from a stroke. The current ageing trend makes it a logical assumption that this number is going to continue to rise. A stroke changes the life of the patient radically, and often comes with physical limitations. To help patients adapt to these changes, they can enter rehabilitation programs. These programs are designed to support patients in functioning in day-to-day life. However, not much is known about the lives these patients lead outside of rehabilitation clinics. The INTERACTION-systeem van Bart Klaassen should offer a solution for this problem.

41 sensors in a suit

The INTERACTION system monitors and analyses how stroke patients move in their day-to-day lives. Discovering and understanding how these people function could make rehabilitation programs more effective and lower healthcare costs.

The system has been tested on several study objects. These people were asked to wear the suit underneath their clothes for three months. The 41 sensors the suit carries measure, among other things, muscle strength, stretch in back and hands and pressure in the shoes of the patients. Sensors are also placed on large body parts. The suit is equipped with a portable transmitter which transmits all of the information gathered to servers at the University of Twente.

Filtering relevant information

At the moment Bart Klaassen and his team have been able to demonstrate that the information is transmitted successfully, in an efficient process. Clinical measurements have pointed out which movements of the stroke patients are relevant to the rehabilitation process. The team has also succeeded in making sure that only relevant data is filtered from all the information the suit gathers. A therapist has access to this data. The project has delivered new methods and techniques to monitor patients at home over a longer period of time.

User-centred design process

Bart Klaassen and his team placed the user front and centre during the development of the INTERACTION system. This made it possible to immediately incorporate feedback the users provided them with into the system. Other relevant partners, like insurance companies and healthcare providers, were also involved in researching and developing the system.

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