Imperial College London
PlayBack: Motivating core-muscle exercises for back pain with AI-assisted wearable myography and motion-sensors
To address the leading cause of disability worldwide, lower back pain, we are developing a wearable that guides and motivates those with lower back pain to perform physiotherapist-recommended exercises from home. This system will analyse muscle activation and posture, providing real-time correction of exercises performed via haptics and gaming
Lower back pain is a leading cause of chronic disability and pain in the UK affecting 1 in 3 people. As well as impairing quality of life, it costs the British economy more than £10 billion annually. The most widely recommended treatment is exercise, taught by a self-management guide or physiotherapist. However, adherence to self-management programs is low; while NHS waiting lists for physiotherapists are long.
Understanding the nature of back pain and its management remains far from ideal. Poor posture over time is predominantly the result of muscle fatigue and limited postural awareness. Awareness only comes with pain and, despite many proposed devices, no system exists today that intelligently monitors muscle activity whilst engaging patients in activities to counteract back pain.
We introduce an unobtrusive wearable and interactive smartphone/computer interface that monitors posture and muscle activity. Our concept centres on a patented, practical and low-cost muscle activity detection suite. This technology can be applied to back pain by providing personalized feedback to an individual when using their core muscles. Clothing integration allows previously impossible pervasive data collection from core muscles, facilitating correct engagement of these muscles and understanding of the effect of neuromuscular activity on back pain. Through novel ‘gaming’ interfaces and visualisation, the system motivates exercise or adoption of healthy postures, helping ameliorate chronic back pain.
Our system is the first to continuously measure posture with real-time biofeedback and facilitate active postural correction, providing a potentially disruptive change in the understanding and management of back pain.
Apply for Cohort Four
Focusing on novel solutions that address the Future of Pain our Challenge Accelerator Programme offers a salary replacement to take six-months (full-time) away from the lab to develop a medical technology into a business venture. The programme offers entrepreneurship masterclasses, specialist advice, access to co-working space and an allowance for travel and consumables (up to £45,000).Applications Closed