Technology in Motion (TiM)

The Technology in Motion (TIM) project aims to develop innovative ICT technologies that facilitate uniform evaluation of motor function and to embed these technologies in medical practice, both in diagnosis and treatment. Affordable RGB-D cameras (such as Microsoft KinectTM) and modern computer-vision techniques are used to perform accurate, markerless tracking of the motion of patients, and machine-learning techniques are developed to characterize each individual patient by means of a “motion phenogram” that captures all key properties of the movements.

These innovative technologies will be used to examine movements of the upper extremity (the arm, hand and fingers) and gait and balance, using Augmented Reality to challenge the patient’s adaptive ability. This may provide a more sensitive indicator of problems experienced in daily life.

For example, the Interactive Walkway (IWW) does not only allow for collecting various gait parameters (such as walking speed, cadence, step length and step symmetry) during unperturbed walking at a self-selected, comfortable walking speed, but also for assessing various aspects of gait adaptability and gait-environment interactions, including targeted stepping, sudden stopping, time-pressured turning, sudden obstacle negotiation and walking at an imposed speed. Movement-dependent augmented reality (such as visual stepping targets, obstacles, and barriers) is projected on the walking surface, for example to examine whether a patient is able to adequately avoid an obstacle that suddenly appears in the motion path, or to test how robust this  performance is when a cognitive dual task is administered or when distractors are presented.

With these setups for assessment of “upper extremity movements” and “gait and balance” the TIM project aims to further develop low cost setups for unobtrusive, sensitive, reliable and valid quantification of motor (dys)function and contributing motor, sensory and/or cognitive factors. Efficient, unobtrusive, and patient-friendly assessment setups may help physicians and physiotherapists to characterize an individual’s movement pattern, select the optimal strategy for the treatment of a specific patient, and to monitor changes in motor function over time or in response to the selected treatment.

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