The project Towards Smart Rehabilitation: Proactive Sensing for Remote and Automatic Medical Evaluation is aimed at developing high technology solutions for monitoring, detection and evaluation of rehabilitation exercises at home. Recent advances in hardware, and more specifically sensor technologies, allow us to acquire accurate information of human behaviors and activities in daily life environments. This fact has attracted the attention of a high number of researchers from very different knowledge areas, such as computer science, biomechanics, or medical and health care, among others. The main result of the project is a medical information system equipped with an Ambient Intelligence module to assist physiotherapists in managing and assessing diagnosis tests carried out by patients. The resulting information system, called PReSenS (Proactive Rehabilitation Sensing System), aims at improving automatic evaluation of physical activity in medical environments, and at providing healthcare experts with a tool to acquire and analyze motion data using marker-free solutions such as depth sensor cameras.

Towards Smart Rehabilitation

The diagram of the figure summarizes the system usual operation: In a first stage, the physiotherapist saves exercise templates using the healthcare front-end. This template is stored into a remote database containing the information about exercises, patient plans and patient performances. Then, he/she proposes an exercise plan to the patient, who performs the exercises remotely in Stage 2. The system is able to provide the patient with a preliminary and automatic evaluation of the plan execution, and stores this information into the remote database. Finally, in Stage 3, both patients and physiotherapists can access the system remotely using a web front-end, to make an in-depth signal motion analysis, to obtain healthcare experts suggestions, professional evaluations and plan modifications. According to this description, we may distinguish three main application front-ends: The healthcare expert front-end, aimed for exercise template definition and learning, and patient exercise plan; the patient front-end, used for execution of exercise plans and performance evaluation of patients; and the web interface, to visualize exercise templates, exercise performance of patients, and to access all system information online. In addition, we also distinguish a database server to access and store exercise data remotely. Both the healthcare expert and patient front-ends are platform-dependent desktop applications, which require the depth sensor to acquire user motion data. On the other hand, the web view is platform independent and its use is focused on information management and access to both exercises and patient information.

The project Towards Smart Rehabilitation: Proactive Sensing for Remote and Automatic Medical Evaluation is complementary to the ICT4Rehab project in Brussels, which targets the development of assistive ICT technologies (Computer-aided gait data analysis and Kinect-based serious gaming) for the rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy.