NeuRehab@home – A Smart Textile Platform for neuromuscular rehabilitation in the home environment


Of particular interest is the information that can be extracted from the electrophysiological activity of the body. A wide range of healthcare applications can be used more extensively if they can be easily performed e.g. at home. Different smart textile solutions can contribute to this by allowing electrophysiological information to be captured using textile electrodes and thereby making the recording/monitoring fully self-administered.

The objective of this project is to establish the smart textile platform NeuRehab@home to facilitate home-based neuromuscular rehabilitation. Surface electromyography (sEMG) is an established method in neuromuscular rehabilitation. Biofeedback based on muscle activity may be the most well-known. One recent addition is to treat Phantom Limb Pain (PLP) using sEMG signals to control a VR hand. Traditionally, sEMG is recorded using disposable electrodes that are glued to the skin. These types of electrodes are not ideal for long-term use which limits the applicability of sEMG methods. A further limitation is that the electrodes need to be positioned by a professional. In the previous KK ProSpekt project, we were able to successfully demonstrate a smart textile solution for the PLP treatment. This smart textile solution does not only provide better comfort during long-term use, but it also makes it possible for the patient to position the electrodes without the assistance of any healthcare professional. This opens up for a wide range of various self-administrated treatments based on muscle activity to be carried out in the home environment. However, today's smart textiles solutions can still be improved regarding electrode-to-skin contact, moisture properties, and washability. Recent developments in novel conductive materials combined with front-end textile production techniques open the possibility to address these issues.

The research question addressed in this project is: How to improve the smart textile system performance in out-of-lab environments to facilitate long-term and home-based neuromuscular rehabilitation? We will explore this by pursuing the specific aims:

1) Improve skin-electrode contact using different strategies.
2) Evaluate the smart textile system in real-life situations in two case studies: a) A Textrode-band for lower limb movements classification to facilitate self-administrated PLP Treatment, and b) A wearable smart textile biofeedback system for post-stroke hand function rehabilitation in the home environment.