Getting stronger is a project inspired by my healing journey post ankle surgery, one of the most important processes on the road to recovery is physiotherapy. Physiotherapy recommendations is usually 2-3 times a week depending on the type of surgery. Through out my journey I have been interested in tracking my own progress hence this project explores wearable technology as a way to keep track of different physiotherapy exercises.
Getting stronger takes a look at two specific exercises I have been doing for the past year now one is ankle AROM – Inversion and Eversion. Inversion entails moving the ankle so that the foot faces towards the body while eversion involves moving the ankle so that the foot faces away from the body. This exercise is done to improve range of motion of the ankle from left to right position. The second exercise is toe towel curls which is performed using a towel or other material to scrunch. This exercise works well standing up or sitting down. This exercise is a good foot strengthening workout.
Getting stronger uses the accelerometer on the circuit playground express to keep track of the ankle AROM – Inversion and Eversion stretch to monitor the progress of range of motion on the ankle. For the toe towel curls a pressure sensor is attached to the circuit playground express to keep track of the foot strength progression.
- (1) Circuit Playground Express
- (1) Lipo Battery
- (3) Alligator Clips
- (1) 220ohm resistor
- Elastic strap
- 3D printed case for the CPX
- Conductive Fabric
Circuit Diagram On Fritzing
Link to code
Getting stronger is inspired by another project I did for the Body Centric Technologies Studio Class in winter 2021 called Vibrating Knee Brace. The project documented my physiotherapy journey for my runner’s knee at the time which would cause pain and discomfort when I would run. For the project I designed a wearable knee brace that had four vibrating motors two at the top and two at the bottom connected to a CPX. The brace had four modes that were activated using the one of the on-board buttons on the CPX. When the button is pressed it would shift through the modes as follows:
- The CPX Neo Pixels lights up red to indicate the motors are off
- The CPX Neo Pixels lights up yellow to indicate the top motors are on
- The CPX Neo Pixels lights up orange to indicate the bottom motors are on
- The CPX Neo Pixels lights up green to indicate all the motors are on
The wearable was designed to be worn while someone is either running, jogging, or walking to relieve pain felt on the knee while doing these activities. The project borrowed its idea from the TENS machine which is used for physiotherapy. Getting stronger relates to this project as it also borrows ideas from existing physiotherapy exercises to keep track of progress throughout the healing process.
Sensoria® Smart Socks are a smart textile wearable designed to improve running form by keeping track of speed, pace, cadence, and foot landing. It helps a user learn how to run to avoid injury prone running styles. Sensoria smart socks are infused with comfortable, textile pressure sensors (Sensoria Fitness). They offer real-time feedback when someone striking with the heel or the ball of your foot. They help monitor foot-landing technique and the data is visualized on the Sensoria Fitness mobile app (Sensoria Fitness). The idea of getting stronger links to Sensoria as it incorporates pressure sensing with an output of the Neo Pixels on the CPX to indicate the pressure exerted during the toe towel curls exercise.
Orpyx SI® Sensory Insoles is a wearable designed to help prevent foot complications (‘Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc.’). The wearable devices offer pressure monitoring for preventing foot complications and provides physiological data that can guide patient care. It also helps to gain an understanding of a user’s activity for remote patient monitoring services and the Orpyx SI® Flex Sensory Insole System is designed to help reduce the risk of plantar foot complications. As my project looks at monitoring patient progress throughout the physiotherapy process the Orpyx Insole offers inspiration as it also uses pressure sensing for patient monitoring.
‘Circuit Playground’s Motion Sensor’. Adafruit Learning System, https://learn.adafruit.com/circuit-playgrounds-motion-sensor/twinkle. Accessed 29 Apr. 2022.
‘Orpyx Medical Technologies Inc.’ Orpyx Medical Technologies, https://www.orpyx.com. Accessed 2 May 2022.
Sensoria Fitness. https://www.sensoriafitness.com/smartsocks/. Accessed 29 Apr. 2022.
Social Body Lab. How to Make an E-Textile Analog Sensor. 2020. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA37mGEnPes.