A Wireless Sensor System for Reliable Recordings During Exercise

Period of Performance: 08/01/2016 - 07/31/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Altec, Inc.
Natick, MA 01760
Principal Investigator


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Despite recent advancements in wireless sensor technology and the rapidly growing need among clinicians and researchers for body-worn measurement systems, current technology retains limited functionality during demanding applications such as recording uncontrolled movement disorders, sports activities, or activities inthe work place. A design breakthrough is needed to produce a wearable sensor technology that can record high- fidelity surface electromyographic (sEMG) signals outside the confines of the research laboratory, where vigorous or otherwise demanding conditions occur. This project develops a pre-commercial body-worn data acquisition system that is designed specifically for providing artifact-free sEMG signals when assessing muscle performance and kinematics during sports, neurology, rehabilitation, ergonomics, and home/community use. The system will consist of wireless sensors that combine unique design elements (provided in Phase I and implemented in Phase II), which improve sensor electromechanical stability and provide artifact-free performance during demanding use-case scenarios. Phase II will also add a 'smart' portable Hip Module for acquiring and previewing the data and communication with a Tablet programmed for in-field protocol development, signal quality checking, and data analysis. The research aims will develop a low profile sensor that conforms to the body surface, improves wireless transmission capability for outdoor use, and offers superior attachment to limbs through an overlay band and electrode-skin interface that reduces motion artifacts, and eliminates electrostatic artifacts produced by the sensor rubbing on clothing. The Hip Module will be developed to wirelessly configure up to 16 sensors in the network, control the data acquisition, and make the data available to the onboard screen and Tablet. Software development on the Tablet will support communication with the Hip Module and provide advanced protocol and analysis functions for field use. Each of the system components represent innovations not found in comparable commercially available systems. The system components will be tested during bench top signal quality tests and use-case scenarios among human subjects during problematic clinical, sports and ergonomic applications. The pre-commercial development will be guided by independent feedback from research and clinical experts. Together we will provide a system that achieves performance metrics unattainable during vigorous activities using current technology. The innovation will expand the ability of researchers and clinicians to investigate human movement and muscle function under realistic and unconstrained conditions. Our commercialization plan includes sufficient internal and external funding, and a sound marketing plan, to successfully transfer the technology to the marketplace. As a recipient of the prestigious Tibbetts award, we have a strong track record of SBIR achievements to stimulate technological innovation that meets Federal R&D needs, and successfully transfer this technology to the marketplace.