Date of Award

Fall 2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Lisa K. Simone

Second Advisor

Sergei Adamovich

Third Advisor

Richard A. Foulds

Fourth Advisor

Gail Forrest

Abstract

Spinal cord injuries occur in approximately 12,000 to 15,000 people per year in the U.S. About 10,000 of these people are permanently paralyzed. Most spinal cord traumas occur in young, healthy individuals. Males between 15 and 35 years old are most commonly affected.

Recently new approaches to facilitate walking recovery for individuals after a spinal cord injury, have been directed towards a therapy known as Locomotor Training (LT) that implements repetitive stepping on a treadmill using body weight support. A major intent of LT research is to investigate the effect of an extended period of LT on bilateral muscle activation (EMG pattern, amplitude, and burst duration).

Currently, training is subjective and there is no way to evaluate if trainers are applying the appropriate force or not. Researchers have requested a method to measure the amount of force applied by the trainers. Researchers would use this information to assess the subject's progress over the course of training, to evaluate the consistency of training and to ensure trainers are properly trained.

A glove-like device was built to measure how much force the human trainers apply while performing LT for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) for the goal of quantifying force and assessing effectiveness. The development of the above mention device would be directly used by therapists to improve rehabilitation treatments. Measuring levels of assistance, rehab programs can identify how much improvement a particular patient has achieved and at what rate. Rehabilitation programs would also be able to evaluate the performance of the trainers and observe just how effective they are.

Share

COinS