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Neuro rehab research

How cinema technology can benefit stroke rehabilitation



Stroke rehabilitation and treatments could soon be getting the Hollywood treatment thanks to reach from a team at Lancaster University Medical School.

Dr Hannah Jarvis and Dr Phil Nagy from Lancaster University Medical School are exploring the benefits of performance capture technology which has been used to create much loved on-screen characters such as those in the marvel cinematic universe.

The technology includes the use of retro-reflective markers which are placed on the body which are then tracked by infra-red cameras in order to create a 3D computer model of the skeleton moving on a screen.

The researchers have been implementing the technology in order to research movement and motion to help to improve treatment and rehabilitation for stroke patients, as well as injured athletes.

A further understanding of these movements will allow for better personalised rehabilitation plans to be designed. The ultimate aim of the research is to enable the technology to be used at home, to allow for a more realistic tracking experience.

Dr Jarvis has previous experience with this motion tracking technology, through her work in helping amputees from the conflict in Afghanistan. She was also the first researcher to publish biomechanical data on this group of veterans.

Speaking on the capabilities of this technology, Dr Jarvis says: “it can be used to build a lower limb model of a stroke survivor, where we can measure the physiological cost of walking in terms of how much effort is needed to walk”.

“We will be able to measure the joint angle and the force on various joints as we watch the model walking on the screen. This can be used to design rehabilitation for the patient.

“Also a lot of elderly people have falls and have trouble getting up so tracking their movements will enable us to collect data on muscle activity and create a biomedical profile which can inform rehabilitation.”