Treadmill for Real-time Gait Analysis and Rehabilitation

Period of Performance: 09/25/2000 - 08/31/2001

$397K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Foster-miller, Inc.
350 Second Ave.
Waltham, MA 02451
Principal Investigator

Abstract

This effort will continue development of an instrumented, dual track treadmill that will permit real-time monitoring. analysis and rehabilitation of a patient's gait. A pre-production dual track treadmill will be fabricated, calibrated and tested to verify accuracy and repeatability of data obtained. Using a dual belted treadmill. uniaxial force sensors can determine vertical load and axial shear forces for each foot independently. The data from these force sensors are analyzed and displayed on a computer monitor mounted on the treadmill. Software specifically formatted for this application will permit a patient and the test administrator to view various real-time gait patterns. Some patients will be able to use this real-Lime feedback to assist with self-correction of abnormalities in his/her walking patterns. Also. the instrumented treadmill will allow the patient's physician to view and evaluate his/her walking patterns to permit diagnosis and prescription of corrective therapy and/or intervention. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The long term goal is to provide a commercial system to hospitals. orthopedists. therapists. and medical practitioners. The treadmill will be designed for office use and will be suitable for both evaluation and therapy. Future system enhancements involve integration of joint location sensors into the treadmill package to extend its evaluation and research capabilities to neural-muscle interaction and real-time calculation of resultant joint forces. The elderly. stroke patients. and amputee patients are all groups in need of rehabilitation that would benefit from a widely marketed. economically available device such as that proposed herein.