Breaking News
April 24, 2018 - Study sheds new light on how bilinguals process language
April 24, 2018 - Probiotics can improve liver health, shows study
April 24, 2018 - Study may explain how chemoresistance evolves over time in some triple-negative breast cancers
April 24, 2018 - Role of midbrain in encoding identity errors
April 23, 2018 - Salamander study provides clues for treating spinal cord injuries
April 23, 2018 - Relaxation after work could give better night’s sleep
April 23, 2018 - Loneliness on its way to becoming Britain’s most lethal condition
April 23, 2018 - Low-cost blood test for multiple myeloma can deliver same diagnostic information as bone biopsy
April 23, 2018 - Metabolic differences may contribute to postpartum weight retention in black moms
April 23, 2018 - Time-Related Deployment Factors Predict Suicide Attempt Risk
April 23, 2018 - Are newborns ugly? Research says newborns rated ‘less cute’ than older babies
April 23, 2018 - Prenatal marijuana use linked to increased chance of low birth weights
April 23, 2018 - Researchers identify target gene in P. aeruginosa infection
April 23, 2018 - New studies related to causes of liver degradation and possible treatments
April 23, 2018 - Studies offer leads for new approaches to treat neurological problems
April 23, 2018 - Gene Therapy May Be Cure for Some With Rare Blood Disorder
April 23, 2018 - Obesity impacts liver health in kids as young as eight years old
April 23, 2018 - Frequent cannabis use by young people linked to small reductions in cognitive function
April 23, 2018 - Innovative research could lead to new ways to treat, prevent cancer
April 23, 2018 - Study uncovers possible source of gender differences in migraines
April 23, 2018 - Study proves usefulness of EDX testing in diagnosis, management of neuromuscular disorders
April 23, 2018 - Hacking ‘drug trafficking’ system could increase effectiveness of diabetes treatment
April 23, 2018 - Clinical trial to examine stem cell therapy for treatment, prevention of complications after traumatic injury
April 23, 2018 - Targeted radiotherapy found to be a good option for women with early breast cancer
April 23, 2018 - Eating fish could prevent Parkinson’s disease
April 23, 2018 - Philips showcases dedicated radiation oncology solutions at ESTRO 2018
April 23, 2018 - Key factor in development of Parkinson’s disease identified
April 23, 2018 - Higher consumption of fish linked to better neurological health
April 23, 2018 - Genevac announces HT Series 3 evaporators with Inert Gas Purge option
April 23, 2018 - Researchers clarify immune response for patients with breast cancer brain metastases
April 23, 2018 - Polypharmacy More Likely for Cancer Survivors
April 23, 2018 - Obesity is shifting cancer to young adults
April 23, 2018 - Scientists illustrate role of novel chromosomal mutations in fosfomycin resistance
April 23, 2018 - Newly developed drug compound may help treat Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
April 23, 2018 - Marriage Means ‘I Do’ for Skin Cancer Detection
April 23, 2018 - Freezing hunger-signaling nerve may help ignite weight loss
April 23, 2018 - Wear exoskeletons with caution for heavy lifting, researchers say
April 23, 2018 - Research offers new hope for healing wounds in patients with diabetes
April 23, 2018 - Shorter courses of radiotherapy found to be safe, effective for prostate cancer patients
April 23, 2018 - Scientists use CRISPR tool to make multiple edits to DNA samples ‘in vitro’
April 23, 2018 - Knee reconstructions are on the rise among the youth in Australia
April 23, 2018 - Artificial sweeteners linked to obesity warn researchers
April 23, 2018 - CDC seeking $400 million to replace lab for deadliest germs
April 23, 2018 - Sensirion to present single-use liquid flow sensor at COMPAMED 2017
April 23, 2018 - FDA approves contact lenses that shade the sun
April 22, 2018 - Concussion recovery and symptom severity found to vary between men and women
April 22, 2018 - C. Difficile Risk Higher With Stoma Reversal Versus Colectomy
April 22, 2018 - Repeated ranibizumab doesn’t impair macular perfusion
April 22, 2018 - New microscope reveals how cells behave in 3D and real time inside living organisms
April 22, 2018 - Study shows clinical benefit and monetary gains of weight-loss surgery
April 22, 2018 - GNA Biosolutions launches world’s first Laser PCR platform at Medica Trade Fair
April 22, 2018 - Researchers present simulation model to investigate hospital responsiveness to mass casualty incidents
April 22, 2018 - Does Pot Really Dull a Teen’s Brain?
April 22, 2018 - Controversial pregnancy test drug shows deformities in zebrafish embryos within hours of exposure
April 22, 2018 - New research partnership makes childbirth safer in Mozambique
April 22, 2018 - Brief bedside visual art intervention reduces pain, anxiety in cancer patients
April 22, 2018 - The memory part of the brain may also hold clues for anxiety and depression
April 22, 2018 - AYOXXA to develop multiplex immunoassay to support treatment of sepsis patients
April 22, 2018 - New Drug Combo Ups Survival in HER2/neu Uterine Serous Cancer
April 22, 2018 - Researchers chart a new way to look at concussion
April 22, 2018 - Every parent needs to know fundamental red flags for autism
April 22, 2018 - Anatotemp expands anatomic dental implant healing abutments with 4Side anti-rotational connection
April 22, 2018 - Gene Twist Can Make Your Blood Pressure Spike From Salt
April 22, 2018 - Study suggests failed osteoarthritis drug could help treat opioid addiction
April 22, 2018 - More Americans aware of growing problem of opioid addiction
April 22, 2018 - KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Nothing in health care ever goes away
April 22, 2018 - BGS to promote high-quality sterilization services at Health GB in Manchester
April 22, 2018 - New integrated POC tool detects biomarkers of heart failure rapidly and precisely
April 22, 2018 - Direct electrical current can be delivered to nerves for blocking pain signals
April 22, 2018 - Newly Published Phase 2 Study Found Esketamine Demonstrated Significantly Rapid Improvements in Depressive Symptoms and Suicidality
April 22, 2018 - Healthy red blood cells owe their shape to muscle-like structures
April 22, 2018 - Researchers present case study of management of rheumatic mitral regurgitation in woman contemplating pregnancy
April 22, 2018 - New black Porvair Krystal UV Quartz microplates for Circular Dichroism measurements
April 22, 2018 - Advanced flow chemistry modules enhance control of nanoprecipitation
April 22, 2018 - Look! Down in the petri dish! It’s a superplatelet!
April 22, 2018 - Research reveals why people with tetraplegia more likely to suffer from sleep apnea
April 21, 2018 - New non-invasive nerve stimulation may offer relief for people with hand tremor
April 21, 2018 - Smartphone App May Up Medication Adherence in HTN
April 21, 2018 - Western diet depletes artery-protecting immune cells
April 21, 2018 - Excelitas Technologies launches new powerful LED light source for fluorescence microscopy
Augmented reality app may aid patients with Parkinson’s

Augmented reality app may aid patients with Parkinson’s

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Augmented reality app may aid patients with Parkinson’s
Rice engineering students have designed an iPhone app to help patients overcome a symptom known as “freezing,” in which the legs temporarily refuse to follow the brain’s command to lift and move forward. In visual mode, the app places a circle or other object over what the camera sees in front of users and encourages them to step into the graphic. Credit: Jeff Fitlow

It’s appropriate that during Parkinson’s Awareness Month, a team of Rice University seniors will show how augmented reality may help patients with the disease.

Six Rice engineering students have designed an iPhone app to help patients overcome a symptom known as “freezing,” in which the legs temporarily refuse to follow the brain’s command to lift and move forward.

For many of these patients, researchers have found that visual, audio or vibratory cues can help them overcome freezing. The Rice app may be the most elegant and comprehensive way to date to provide those cues, according to the students.

The app takes advantage of new programming tools that allow for the incorporation of augmented reality. In this case, the user can point the phone at the floor or sidewalk and trigger it to place the image of a block, circle or other object where his or her foot should land. That visual cue is often enough to allow patients to initiate their gait.

The app can also provide audio or sensory cues through the phone’s sound and vibration capabilities. It should be adaptable to Android phones as well, according to the students.

“This is for patients who, in their day-to-day lives, experience freezing episodes,” said team member Gaby Perez. “There are a couple of devices on the market to help them, but none of them incorporate all three kinds of cues.”

Rice senior engineering student Jeremy David shows the user interface of an iPhone app intended to help patients with Parkinson’s disease maneuver. Credit: Jeff Fitlow

Perez and her Stairway to Stability teammates, Theresa Sonka, Kristen Smith, Keshav Rao, Jeremy David and Dan Burke, all bioengineering majors, took on the challenge as their capstone design project, required of most Rice engineering seniors. They were advised by bioengineering lecturer Eric Richardson with help from Dr. Eugene Lai, a neurologist at Houston Methodist, and sponsorship by Karen and Richard Whitney. The team said client and partial sponsor Nora Bynum was an influential adviser during development of the app.

Their creation is certainly smaller and cheaper than what they referred to as the state of the art for patients, a cane with a laser attachment. “Every time you place the cane down, the laser line pops up in front of you, cueing the user to step over it,” Sonka said. “But a lot of the time, these laser solutions have trouble working outdoors.”

“What’s cool about our project is that the cheapest solutions available right now are about $200, with some solutions costing as much as $3,000,” David said. “Our solution, however, has the potential to work more effectively and at a fraction of the cost.”

Because some patients may also experience tremors in their hands, the team created a lanyard phone case a patient can wear to make the phone easier to manipulate.

The team worked with the Houston Area Parkinson Society to recruit patients who are helping them test the app at Rice’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen, Burke said. “Our goal right now is to prove that the concept of augmented reality can be used in a therapeutic context while maintaining the user-friendly nature of smartphones.”

Credit: Rice University

“The patients we’ve talked to are a little on the milder end and are still able to walk, but each one of them has started to see instances of freezing, whether it be just for a few seconds or on the order of minutes,” Rao said. “They’ve each talked about the mental gymnastics they go through to be able to move their feet again. They’re very interested in anything that can reduce that burden.”

The students appreciate the irony that their solution for people with Parkinson’s would make them look like everybody else who walks down the street staring at a cellphone.

“Another big criterion was social comfort,” Smith said. “We wanted it to be a very discreet solution.”

The team plans to demonstrate the app at the annual George R. Brown School of Engineering Design Showcase April 12 at Rice’s Tudor Fieldhouse. The event opens to the public at 4:30 p.m., with the winners of cash prizes announced at 6:30. As many as 80 teams are expected to compete this year.


Explore further:
Laser shoes prevent ‘freezing’ in Parkinson patients

More information:
Follow the team at oedk.rice.edu/Sys/PublicProfile/41416142/4330110

Provided by:
Rice University

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles