Muscle-force measuring wearable

University of Wisconsin’s Darryl Thelen and Jack Martin have developed a noninvasive approach to measuring tendon tension while a person is active.

Current wearables can measure movement, but not muscle force.

The technology provides insight into motor control and human movement mechanics, and can be applied in orthopedics, rehabilitation, ergonomics, and sports.

The device is mounted on skin over a tendon, lightly tapping it 50 times per second. Each tap initiates a wave in the tendon, and two miniature accelerometers determine how quickly it travels. This assesses  force via vibrational characteristics of the tendon change during loading.  Tensile stress is then measured.

It has been used to measure forces on the Achilles tendon, patellar and hamstring tendons. Changes were observed when  gait was modified, which can enable clinicians to optimize the treatment of musculoskeletal disease and injuries. It may also be useful to determine when a repaired tendon is  healed.

Join ApplySci at the 9th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on September 24, 2018 at the MIT Media Lab

GSK/Verily “biolectronic medicine” partnership for disease management

Galvani Biolectronics is a Verily/GSK company, created to accelerate the research, development and commercialization of bioelectronic medicines. The goal is to find solutions to manage chronic diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes, and asthma, using  miniaturized electronics.  Implanted devices would  modify electrical signals that pass along nerves, including irregular impulses that occur in illness.

Initial work will focus on developing precision devices for inflammatory, metabolic and endocrine disorders, including type 2 diabetes, where substantial evidence already exists in animal models.

Every major pharmaceutical company (globally) attended  ApplySci’s recent Wearable Tech + Digital Health + NeuroTech conferences in San Francisco and New York.  We believe that partnerships similar to the Verily/GSK venture will proliferate — and that they will improve the lives of those with chronic diseases.

Digital Health + NeuroTech Silicon Valley – February 7-8, 2017 @ Stanford University

Smart walker monitors gait, assesses falling probability

Footprints by Quanticare is a walker that  continuously collects passive and contextual gait data, with the goal of predicting and preventing senior falls.  Its computer vision algorithm captures spatio-temporal gait metrics of the user and sends the data to a health care provider.

The company claims that  the walker could measure an osteoarthritic limp to improve PT protocols, and that it can gauge  MS progression by measuring the difference between  steps.




Smart shirt monitors posture, sends correcting alerts

TruPosture is a smart shirt with embedded nanosensors that continuously measure the curvature of one’s spine.  It is being crowdfunded on indiegogo.

The wearer, and a physical therapist, set a personalized posture goal.  When the spine diverges, vibrations  are sent as posture reminders. One vibration burst happens when a wearer is leaning too far forward, and two bursts happen when he/she leans too far back.

Posture performance is tracked over time through an app.  The data can be shared with doctors or therapists, or integrated with fitness wearables.

Digital PT tool assesses range of motion

Physmodo is disrupting physical therapy, using Microsoft Kinect to assess range of motion.

The ADEPT Clinic app senses changes in movement in multiple joints simultaneouly.  A manual goniometer can only measure individual joints, and its accuracy depend on the measurer.

The developers believe that Physmodo better equips therapists to track recovery, and motivates patients by allowing them to visually gauge their own progress.

Gesture controlled driver’s seat improves ergonomics

The Fraunhofer driver’s seat is adjusted with hand gestures to optimize ergonomics and prevent spinal strain.

Pressure responding piezoensors are integrated into the side of the seat to activate the motion controlled system. Seat positions can be stored. Proximity sensors detect changes in electrical fields, as triggered by hand motions. Software interprets the data and determines the hand’s direction of motion, moving the seat accordingly.  An algorithm enables multiple electrodes to be evaluated simultaneously.

Sensor boot guides bone injury healing

ApplySci blogs about sensor based health innovations.  We have seen far too little in the orthopedics space, which remains an area of opportunity.  This week we discussed dorsaVi‘s spine injury assessment tool, and today we will describe the “SmartBoot“.

Developed by University of Delaware researchers, SmartBoot enables physicians to monitor orthopedic patients as they recover. Users are given visual feedback to let them know if they are under- or overloading a limb after injury.

According to Professor Jill Higginson, whose student, Brian Knarr, developed the boot:  “Patients are often trained in the clinic on a bathroom scale and then sent home with crutches, with the assumption that they can consistently perform partial weight bearing on their own.”  However, research has shown that patients often bear significantly more weight on the injured foot than prescribed, which delays healing.