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Smart Socks for Virtual Reality-based Gait Rehabilitation S&T64

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2022
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded

Overview

NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2022

Project ID: S&T64

Gait restoration is an integral part of rehabilitation in stroke survivors and people suffering from diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s. Treatment and rehabilitation of stroke survivors alone currently cost the NHS around £26 billion, and this value is estimated rise by 250% by 2035.

This project will focus on the development of a wearable gait monitoring system that can be used to improve patient outcomes. The wearable system, that will take the form of a comfortable textile sock, will allow for the continuous remote collection of data, and could help better tailor treatments. This cannot be accomplished by current devices which are bulky, uncomfortable to wear, and impede the movement of the wearer. Further the system will be integrated with immersive virtual reality (VR)-based exercise routines. Recent research has shown that the use of VR exercise programs increases the motivation of patients and helps them to achieve their therapy outcomes.

Here the candidate will develop smart socks integrated with sensors for monitoring and analysing gait. The candidate will fabricate bespoke flexible sensors, as well as create sensing systems by embedding commercial sensors within the core of yarns, creating electronic yarns (www.e-yarns.com), which can then be used to construct the socks. It is envisioned that sensors such as accelerometers, Hall effect sensors, strain sensors and gyroscopes will be utilised for this application. Design rules will have to be developed so that the incorporated sensors have minimal impact on the sock’s aesthetics, mechanical properties (i.e. bendability, drapability and sheer), and durability (i.e. the device must be washable). It is anticipated that this project will also include preliminary user trials to identify the most appropriate sensors, sensor fusion, and localised positioning of the sensors within the sock. Subsequently the necessary interface hardware and software must be developed to capture and transmit real time data from the sensor system. Algorithms will have to be developed to interpret the measured data and analyse gait. Research activities will also explore translating the captured data into an immersive VR environment to ensure that the movement of the patient synchronises with the motion in VR.  This proposed sock will enhance the therapy experience of patients and provide valuable insight on gait rehabilitation.

A motivated candidate with a background in electronic/mechanical engineering or computer science is sort. While previous experience with textile engineering, wearable devices or activity recognition would be preferred, this is not an essential requirement.

The supervisory team consists of Director of Studies Dr Pasindu Lugoda (NTU), first co-supervisor Professor Philip Breedon (NTU), second co-supervisors Dr Theo Hughes Riley and Professor Tilak Dias and external partners Medical Technology and Innovation Facility (MTIF), Dr Bill Byrom (Signant Health) and Professor Daniel Roggen (University of Sussex).

School strategic research priority

This project aligns with the Sport, Health and Performance Enhancement (SHAPE) research centre and the Centre for Health, Ageing and Understanding Disease.

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

For guidance and to make an application, please visit our studentship application page. The application deadline is Friday 14 January 2022.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2022 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Download our full applicant guidance notes for more information.

Still need help?

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