We are Gemstone Team ADEPT (Advancing the Development of Electromyography-based Physical Therapy)! We are all members of the University of Maryland, College Park Class of 2014, and we work through the UMD Honors College and the James A. Clark School of Engineering. We are mentored by Dr. Pamela Abshire, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and we seek to advance the development of physical therapy using electromyography-based biofeedback delivered to a patient through a specifically designed video game.
Check out our most recent version of the thesis proposal here, and our current team presentation here.
Current research has already proven that using EMG-driven video games to aid physical therapy can improve patientsí recovery times, as well as make physical therapy more agreeable for the patient. The current experimental standard in sEMG device utilizes a bulky, inconvenient device hardwired to a computer to collect signals. These devices require expert assistance for use by the patient. Our team is attempting to create a sleeve-like device with integrated electrodes that can be easily applied by a nontechnical end-user. The sleeve would be wirelessly connected to a computer where a program would walk the user through setup and game play. Data from each session would be stored for future reference by the physical therapist. Ideally, the device would be used by the patient under direction from the physical therapist, but with no other outside technical support. By providing a single easy-to-use device and making setup possible for a non-technical end user, we intend to make the advantages of EMG and video game aided physical therapy more generally available.
We are currently focusing on the PT necessary for treatment of injuries to the hand and forearm. Specifically, we would like to be able to identify hand motions based on muscle activity in the forearm.
Our goals this semester include building a basic working prototype of an sEMG device based on a previous Gemstone research team's work, passing our thesis proposal defense, and submitting and getting approval for our institutional review board application, so we can legally work with human subjects.
Team ADEPT's research would not be possible without the previous efforts of Gemstone Team CHIP, cohort of 2010, who also created an sEMG/videogame biofeedback device for the purpose of physical therapy, specifically for stroke patients. While their device was completely functional and provided solid proof of concept, it was clunky and the many wires connected to the patient hampered their movements as they performed their exercises. While impressive, the Team CHIP device was not optimized for the daily use that physical therapy requires. We hope to take their research to the next level by making the device easy to use and accessible enough for home use.
Since we're working on a tight time schedule, it's necessary to keep on task! To this effort, we have made and maintain a Gantt Chart to keep track of where we are and where we're going.