Technology and Wearables

Technology and Wearables

Our research uses wearable technologies to evaluate motor impairments and physical activity in individuals with neurological diseases and disorders, including Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease and stroke. These technologies include wearable inertial measurement units, wrist and ankle worn accelerometers, and commercially available activity monitors. We also use wearable EEG monitoring to investigate neural underpinnings of gait initiation.


Completed Technology and Wearables Projects

Assessment of interlimb coordination in children and adults with hemiplegia

The NRL lab is working in collaboration with Dr. Susan V.  Duff (PI) from Chapman University, Irvine, CA, Dr. Eric Wade (co-investigator), University of Tennessee Knoxville, TN and Heather Ruthrauff, MS, OTR/L on this project, designed to identify unique features of interlimb coordination during unimanual, bimanual asymmetric or bimanual symmetric tasks in children and adults with hemiparesis. The long-term goal of this project is to design and test an objective measure of cooperative limb function for use in the home and community setting. This study is funded by the APTA Academy of Hand and Upper Extremity Physical Therapy Leslie Harris Lindsey Grant for Research in the Hand and Upper Quadrant award and the American Society for Neurorehabilitation Seed Funding for Collaborative Clinical Research Projects.

Feasibility of Utilizing Microsoft HoloLens by People with Parkinson’s Disease

The NRL Lab is collaborating with Dr. Akin Beckley and Dr. Sam Rosenberg (Columbia University Medical Center) and Dr. Steven Feiner (Columbia University Engineering Department)  to conduct a feasibility study on the use of the Microsoft HoloLens by people with Parkinson’s Disease.  The Microsoft HoloLens (, is a commercially-available augmented reality headset that projects 3D virtual images onto what the person wearing it sees and hears in the real world.  This makes it possible for the wearer to interact with 3D models of virtual objects within an unmodified environment such as a home or an office space.  The goal of this studyis to address the feasibility of this device being used by people with Parkinson’s Disease in the hopes of developing rehabilitative interventions using the Microsoft HoloLens in the future.  

Reduction of Gait Asymmetry Using the Tethered Pelvic Assist Device (TPAD) in Individuals Chronically Post-Stroke

Asymmetrical gait is common in individuals after stroke due to the hemiparetic nature of the disease. Traditional care models, treadmill based training, and robotic training have all worked to reduce asymmetry in this population; however, despite efforts, individuals remain with motor deficits that limit community participation. The tethered pelvic assist device (TPAD) has been developed by Dr. Sunil Agrawal (Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Columbia University). This is a novel robotic device that uses an arrangement of force tethers attached to a pelvic belt to manipulate load forces on the pelvis during treadmill-based gait training. In this non-randomized pilot study of feasibility, we used the TPAD to maintain a prescribed force, guiding the pelvis to increase loading onto the paretic limb while the user freely controls the spatiotemporal aspects of limb movement during gait. On completion of the daily TPAD treadmill training, participants also received additional overground gait training that reinforced skills learned with the TPAD. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the overall feasibility in terms of safety, adherence and treatment tolerance as well as establish preliminary efficacy of implementing this five-day TPAD and overground training paradigm to reduce asymmetry in individuals with chronic stroke. This study was conducted primarily in the Department of Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in collaboration with Dr. Joel Stein, and was led by TC student Lauri Bishop, Phd, PT, DPT.

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