A team of physicians and engineers at Northwestern University hope that a new device—a flexible sensor that can be stuck on the skin like a Band-Aid to monitor speech and movement—can help.
These sensors can be worn on the legs, arms and chest to detect motion, muscle activity and vital signs. The idea is that the devices could monitor patients’ movements while doing everyday activities and undergoing rehabilitation. Data would be streamed directly to doctors to monitor deficits and progress. It could help doctors see whether patients are continuing with their therapy, and which treatments are working, allowing them to suggest modified regimens if necessary.
The sensors, developed by John A. Rogers, an engineering professor who has worked on stretchable electronics for more than a decade, are currently being used in trials at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, a Northwestern-affiliated rehabilitation hospital.