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An upper body garment with integrated sensors for people with neurological disorders – early development and evaluation

Journal article
Authors Margit Alt Murphy
Filip Bergquist
Bengt Hagström
Niina Hernández
Dongni Johansson
Fredrik Ohlsson
Leif Sandsjö
Jan Wipenmyr
Kristina Malmgren
Published in BMC Biomedical Engineering
Volume 1
Issue 3
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Language en
Links https://bmcbiomedeng.biomedcentral....
Keywords Wearable Technology, Ambulatory Monitoring, Neurological Disorders, Patient Preference, Neurological Diagnostic Technic, Textiles, Biomedical Technology Assessment, Accelerometry
Subject categories Other Medical Engineering, Other Medical Sciences, Other Medical Sciences not elsewhere specified

Abstract

Background: To develop a novel wearable garment with integrated sensors for continuous monitoring of physiological and movement related variables to evaluate progression, tailor treatments and improve diagnosis in epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and stroke. Methods: An iterative development process and evaluation of an upper body garment with integrated sensors included: identification of user needs, specification of technical and garment requirements, garment development and production as well as evaluation of garment design, functionality and usability. The project is a multidisciplinary collaboration with experts from medical, engineering, textile, and material science within the wearITmed consortium. The work was organized in regular meetings, task groups and hands-on workshops. User needs were identified using results from a mixed-methods systematic review, a focus group study and expert groups. Usability was evaluated in 19 individuals (13 controls, 6 patients with Parkinson’s disease) using semi-structured interviews and qualitative content analysis. Results: A prototype designed to monitor movements and heart rate was developed. The garment was well accepted by the users regarding design and comfort, although the users were cautious about the technology and suggested improvements. All electronic components passed a washability test. The most robust data was obtained from accelerometer and gyroscope sensors while the electrodes for heart rate registration were sensitive to motion. artefacts. The algorithm development within the wearITmed consortium has shown promising results. Conclusions: The prototype was accepted by the users. Technical improvements are needed, but preliminary data indicate that the garment has potential to be used as a tool for diagnosis and treatment selection and could provide added value for monitoring seizures in epilepsy, fluctuations in PD and activity levels in stroke. Future work aims to improve the prototype further, develop algorithms, and evaluate the functionality and usability in targeted patient groups. The potential of incorporating blood pressure and heart-rate variability monitoring will also be explored.

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