How do we know whether training or medical therapy is successful in patients with movement deficits? This question prompted Profs. William Taylor, Armin Curt and Roger Gassert to start the project ZurichMOVE. Its goal is to develop portable devices to monitor and analyze patients’ mobility and activity, and to provide an objective assessment method for identifying neuro-motor pathologies at an early time point. The group received a HMZ (Hochschulmedizin Zürich) seed project grant to drive the development of the technology used in these devices.
Patients with spinal cord injury or neurological disorders experience movement deficits that greatly impact their lives. Treatment of these patients aims at regaining independence in daily life. However, outside the clinic there are almost no tools to monitor a patient’s functional status, including overall activity and mobility during everyday life in the home environment.
In order to address these deficits, project ZurichMOVE was started by members of ETH Zurich, Balgrist University Hospital and the University Hospital Zürich (USZ), with the goal to develop a next generation wireless sensor technology for use in portable devices. The HMZ funding will be used to develop devices for monitoring upper and lower limb function, as well as wheeling activity in patients with spinal cord injury who have received treatment at the Balgrist University Hospital. The HMZ seed project will be fundamental for further engineering the sensor module (i.e. software and firmware) to enable large-scale clinical research projects in different patient groups as part of the long-term vision of the ZurichMOVE project.
The HMZ is an initiative of the University of Zurich, the ETH Zurich and the university hospitals in Zurich. At its annual event on November 27, the newly awarded HMZ projects were presented. The projects are expected to start January 2016.
Image: ZurichMOVE portable device (Courtesy of Prof. William Taylor)