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Advances in wearable technology for rehabilitation.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston, MA , USA.


Assessing the impact of rehabilitation interventions on the real life of individuals is a key element of the decision-making process required to choose a rehabilitation strategy. In the past, therapists and physicians inferred the effectiveness of a given rehabilitation approach from observations performed in a clinical setting and self-reports by patients. Recent developments in wearable technology have provided tools to complement the information gathered by rehabilitation personnel via patient's direct observation and via interviews and questionnaires. A new generation of wearable sensors and systems has emerged that allows clinicians to gather measures in the home and community settings that capture patients' activity level and exercise compliance, the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions, and the ability of patients to perform efficiently specific motor tasks. Available unobtrusive sensors allow clinical personnel to monitor patients' movement and physiological data such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation. Cell phone technology and the widespread access to the Internet provide means to implement systems designed to remotely monitor patients' status and optimize interventions based on individual responses to different rehabilitation approaches. This chapter summarizes recent advances in the field of wearable technology and presents examples of application of this technology in rehabilitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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