Researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University are developing technology that communicates via vibrations to help stroke patients recover their walking ability.

The haptic device, which is worn by the stroke patient, senses the symmetry of walking and vibrates in a way similar to how a mobile phone does to cue the patient to help improve how they are walking.

The Manchester researchers are working with computer engineering specialists at Open University and Manchester-based technology firm Lucid Innovations to develop the device, according to a media release from Manchester Metropolitan University.

“Whilst advances in medical treatment mean that many people are more likely to survive stroke and have improved outcomes, walking and specifically walking in the community, continues to be a significant problem for over half of all stroke survivors,” says Rachel C. Stockley, one of the project’s leaders, in the release.

“The project will provide valuable information regarding the practicality, acceptability and feasibility of wearing and using the haptic technology to alter walking and help us take the next steps in producing a commercial and useful device to help stroke survivors be more mobile in the community,” adds Stockley, from Department of Health Professions at Manchester.

She is working on the project along with Glenis Donaldson, also from the Department of Health Professions, and Professor Josie Tetley, from the Department of Nursing, per the release.

They along with their colleagues from Open University and Lucid Innovations will develop a prototype device with the input of stroke survivors and clinical physiotherapists to ensure that it is practical and wearable. Then, they will test the device among a group of stroke patients who have difficulty walking.

[Source(s): Manchester Metropolitan University, Science Daily]