The project called Cogwatch is investigating how stroke survivors suffer from problems with mental processes such as language, attention and memory, which make it difficult for them to carry out tasks with ordered sequences such as making a cup of tea, or brushing teeth.
These patients may have normal movement in their hands and arms, but struggle to complete everyday activities because they cannot execute the correct sequence of movements necessary to finish a task. This type of impairment is called ‘Apraxia and Action Disorganisation Syndrome’ (AADS) and it quite common in stroke survivors.
The Cogwatch researchers are investigating the specific problems faced by AADS patients and are developing new technologies to assist them with their daily activities.
Rosanna Laverick, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Psychology, who is working on the study, said: ‘The ultimate aim is to develop a personalized rehabilitation system that can be installed into the homes of stroke survivors. It will silently monitor them as they go about their daily routine and provide helpful and relevant information to guide them when they make errors.’
The researchers will put sensors onto objects like cutlery or a tea kettle, which monitor orientation, motion and grip strength. A central processing system will wirelessly collect the data from the objects to assess how they are being handled and used.
During a task such as making a cup of tea the system will track the actions of the user. When an error is detected, such as the user forgot to switch the kettle on, the system will alert the user and provide guidance to help them complete the task
Help comes to the user in the form of relevant images on a display screen or audible sound or instructions.
Rosanna Laverick continued: ‘We hope that a system like this will also make users more aware of the errors they make, so they can learn to overcome them and also alert them if their safety is at risk.’
If you are a stroke survivor or healthy elder and are interested in taking part in this project, please call Rosanna Laverick on 0121 414 2870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Compensation for travel expenses is available for all participants.
Notes to Editors
For further information
Kate Chapple, Press Office, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.