Kinesiology researchers at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health have developed a treadmill named TreadSense, which may become the next big rehabilitation technology.
TreadSense aims to keep people active and independent longer, especially focusing on people with balance disorders, Parkinson’s disease, stroke survivors and the elderly. Walking is when falls are most likely to occur, so improving posture and balance will work preventatively against injuries. The annual cost of fall injuries is expected to be over $50 billion by 2020, whereas the costs of TreadSense are minimal.
The treadmill uses cameras that record the walker’s movement. These recordings are then sent to a computer that translates the images to give feedback to users about ways to improve their posture and balance during walking.
Lead researcher, Professor John Jeka, predicts that these machines will be regularly implemented into every health club within twenty years.
The machine is already being incorporated into patients’ treatment plans at Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Maryland. Patients have reported seeing significant improvement after only a short period of use. A future clinical trial is being planned for a retirement community in Mitchellville, Maryland, funded by the National Institutes of Health.
For more information, visit: http://issuu.com/umaryland/docs/terp_f2012_wclassnotes?mode=window&pageNumber=14
October 15, 2012