Smartphone-based wearable motion tracker for rehabilitation

Project Title:Smartphone-based wearable motion tracker for rehabilitation

Project Mentors:


  • Primary Faculty Mentor (Name, Affiliation, website and Email/Phone):

Zion Tsz Ho Tse, PhD, Associate Prof of Medical Devices, School of Electrical & Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, UGA

Email:                                              Tel: 706-542-4189

  • Graduate Student/PostDoc mentors (Name, Affiliation and Email/Phone):

Rui Li, PhD Student, Medical Robotics Lab, College of Engineering, UGA                                                     Tel: 706-542-4189


Project Description:

Movement disorders are characterized as either impaired voluntary movement or the presence of involuntary movement. It is classified into “hyperkinetic” disorders, or excessive movement and “hypokinetic” disorders, or insufficient movement [1, 2]. Typical movement disorders are [3], Dystonia [4], Huntington’s disease [5], cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease[6, 7]. Parkinson’s disease, for example, affects up to 1 million people in the US and there are 60,000 new cases diagnosed annually [8].

The rehabilitation of movement disorders usually consists of activity-dependent and goal directed training, where patients repeatedly move their limbs to produce functional patterns. In many cases, the patient may be incapable of completing these movements unassisted, particularly in the early stage of recovery after injury. Therapists support and move the limbs during these exercises, and regularly adjust the amount of the assistance according to the needs of the patient. In recent years, robotic rehabilitation devices have been used as a means to complement therapists’ activities but those systems tend to be bulky, expensive and not designed for use at home or outdoors [9-12].

In this project, a smartphone-based motion tracking device for rehabilitation is proposed, which will be portable, easy-to-operate, easy-to-follow and specifically designed to facilitate a better recovery procedure. This system may not only improve the conventional therapy, but it may also allow the patients to carry out more challenging and effective outdoor recovery exercises. Furthermore, the device may improve training of older or younger individuals, such as children, because the device is portable and operational in both the home and outdoors.

REU Student Role and Responsibility:

Hypothesis: The smartphone motion tracking device will detect the body movement and advise both the patients and the physical therapists the correct moving exercise.

Student Activities:Over the course of the REU program, the student will help develop and optimize the design of the wearable sensor. The student’s project includes testing the accuracy of the motion sensor and develop a smartphone application. The student will gain experience in gyroscope knowledge, sensing technology and smartphone programming. Weekly meetings with mentors will aid in the guidance of the REU student.

Required skills or courses for the REU student:

The desired skills will be:

  1. Basic electronic and mechanical engineering knowledge
  2. Previous experience in 3D design in a professional software such as AutoCAD and Solidworks
  3. Previous experience with computer programming

Expected Outcome for REU student:

The student’s work will contribute to the development of publications, aimed for submission as a conference paper in the Design of Medical Devices (DMD) conference. Upon completion of the entire project, a comprehensive paper on the device will be submitted for journal publication. The device may also be in consideration for commercialization pending experimental outcomes.