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Recent and ongoing projects

“A novel body-worn falls detection system: development and evaluation in the frail elderly population”

Peel Trust funded project which is exploring the use of a novel, posture based, falls detection system in a frail elderly population living in care homes.

“Development of a novel thigh-worn falls detection monitor”

Greater Manchester Academic Health Science funded project which explored the ability to detect a fall using changes in posture from the signals recorded using a thigh-worn sensor system.

“SENIORS USP (Seniors – Understanding Sedentary Patterns)”

MRC funded project in association with Glasgow Caledonian University and others looking at the determinants and predictors of sedentary behaviour and a longitudinal analysis in cohort studies.

“Early VERsus Later Augmented Physiotherapy (EVERLAP) compared with usual upper limb physiotherapy: an exploratory RCT of arm function after stroke”

A CSP funded project which is an exploratory randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing usual physiotherapy with augmented arm physiotherapy, specifically aimed at improving arm function after stroke, provided either within 2 weeks (“early”) or at 3 months (“later”) after stroke. This is in association with Glasgow Caledonian University, novel activity outcomes are being developed for this.

“The influence of dog ownership on objective measures of free-living physical activity and sedentary behaviour in community-dwelling older adults” 

A Waltham funded project aimed at evaluating the influence of dog ownership on health-enhancing activity patterns in community dwelling older adults (who are currently able to walk unaided) by objectively measuring free-living PA patterns and sedentary behaviour.

Fit-for-purpose, affordable body-powered prostheses (EPSRC)

Although body-powered prostheses offer many potential advantages over powered devices, in terms of cost, maintenance and ease of use, there has been relatively little investment to improve their design. In this £1.4 million project we are working with partners at 3 other UK universities, the University of Jordan and Uganda to develop better low-cost, body-powered prostheses. Please click on the link above to find out more!

Are Older People Putting Themselves At Risk Of Falling When Using Walking Frames? (Dunhill Medical Trust)

Fall-related injuries in older adults are a major and growing global health problem. Walking aids are designed to provide stability, yet their use has been reported as a major risk factor for falls [Deandrea 2010]. Their effectiveness is determined by how appropriately they are used, yet little guidance is offered to users.  How they are used in real life situations is entirely unknown. Using a Smart Walker we previously developed for assessment of stability of walking frame use, we aim to:

  • Measure frame use and how stable older people are when using walking frames at home            
  • Evaluate views of clinical staff, walking frame manufacturers and walking frame users as to how this Smart Walker Technology meets their needs.

The long-term aim is to ensure that people are prescribed appropriate walking aids and provided with better training in using these walking aids to reduce their falls-risk. Please click on the link above to find out more!

Smart walking aids – Preparing their route to clinical adoption (GMAHSN - Ignite)

We previously develop a range of ‘smart’ walking frames (pick-up Zimmer frame, front-wheeled Zimmer frame, 4-wheeled rollator) which inform on usage patterns, body weight support, and stability. Our prototype systems are now being used in a number of studies of user stability. This project is concerned with end-user consultations (users of walking frames, clinicians, manufacturers) and market research, to prepare the route to clinical adoption for our ‘Smart Walkers’. Please click on the link above to find out more!

Adaptive Assistive Rehabilitative Technology: Beyond the Clinic (AART-BC) (EPSRC)

Rehabilitation technologies, such as wheelchairs and walking frames, are widely prescribed, yet we have a very poor understanding of how and in what circumstances people make use of them. This in turn limits our understanding of the effectiveness of such devices and makes it difficult for clinicians to prescribe correctly. In this project we are developing a platform to address this issue. Please click on the link above to find out more!

Patient acceptability of a novel prosthetic device: A randomised feasibility study in older patients with vascular-related amputations and multimorbidities (RfPB-NIHR)

This feasibility study investigates whether it is possible to conduct a large randomised controlled trial comparing standard ankle-foot prostheses to a non-standard version. The project will run over two years, and 90 trans-tibial amputees will be recruited and randomly placed into one of two groups: either wearing their existing (standard) prosthesis or a non-standard prosthesis. Pain, health and well-being, daily walking distances and the amount of time per day during which they wear their prosthesis will be recorded. A Patient Advisory Group (PAG), Trial Management Group (TMG) and Trial Steering Group (TSG) will support the work. Please click on the link above to find out more!

Energy efficient lower limb prostheses (EPSRC)

Energy efficiency of prosthetic gait is generally lower than able-bodied gait. This project focuses on the development of novel prosthesis technologies to control the storage and release of energy during gait and thereby improve energy efficiency. Please click on the link above to find out more!

A practical, yet flexible functional electrical stimulation system for upper limb functional rehabilitation (NIHR)

Functional electrical stimulation (FES) has been shown to have a positive impact on the recovery of the upper limb following a stroke. However, current FES technologies are limited in a number of ways. This project is developing a new system for therapists to quickly and easily set up controllers which will provide patients with stimulation to appropriate muscles over appropriate periods of a functional task. The project is a collaboration with Odstock Medical Ltd. Please click on the link above to find out more!