Northwestern University

Mon 12:00 PM

Dr. Caitlyn Seim: Wearable VIbrotactile Stimulation: Mobile Devices to Apply Mechanical Stimulation for Stroke Rehabilitation

When: Monday, June 10, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  

Where: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, 10th floor Conference A-B, 355 E. Erie, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Andrea Domenighetti, PhD   312.238.1030

Group: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Research Seminar Series

Category: Lectures & Meetings

More Info



Stroke is a leading cause of disability both in the United States and globally. Limited arm and hand function after a stroke can be a major challenge to a survivor’s independence and return to a healthy life. In addition to weakness, increased tone and spasticity are major causes of impaired arm function after stroke, with around 40% of survivors affected. We are investigating the use of mechanical vibrotactile stimulation to reduce spasticity and improve upper limb function in chronic stroke survivors. Despite encouraging data on the potential impact of vibrotactile stimulation, there has been little evaluation of this technique over extended periods of time or outside a clinical environment. By designing a wireless, wearable computing device to apply this stimulation, our participants receive stimulation for hours each day during their daily life. Users are simply told to don the device, turn it on, and wear it for the prescribed time every day. Currently there are many barriers to a successful recovery after stroke, such as limited access to clinics and adherence to therapy routines. This work aims to evaluate a low-cost and mobile aide to recovery. Because no exercises are required as part of this passive stimulation method, we also include users with very limited mobility who may not be eligible for other forms of therapy. Results of a preliminary trial including 16 participants found significant changes in cutaneous sensation, range of motion and spasticity after eight weeks using a stimulation device. Participants were given a computerized glove and told to wear it on their affected limb for three hours each day during their normal routine.

Speaker Info:

Dr. Seim is postdoctoral research fellow at Stanford University, where she collaborates with Allison Okamura and Maarten Lansberg. She received her PhD in Computing from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where her dissertation focused on wearable computing and motor skill training. She has been recognized for her work by the National Science Foundation, Microsoft Research and Google. Her research interests include technology-based treatments for motor disabilities, haptic training to enhance skill acquisition, brain-computer interfaces and implantable electronics.

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