STRIDER: new project to improve mobility of stroke survivors

In May we started a new Eurostars project called STRIDER together with two partners: Elitac Wearables (Utrecht, The Netherlands) and cereneo foundation (Vitznau, Switzerland).

What is our goal and why is this important?

Worldwide, we have 80 million stroke survivors and every year 14 million people are experiencing a stroke. This often comes with movement impairment and a lack of balance confidence, which are addressed during the rehabilitation. We want to support this rehabilitation and the transition from in-patient rehabilitation to home by building a wearable that gives haptic feedback (for example, a vibration) to the stroke survivor while walking. This feedback will improve their gait and balance confidence already during and also after rehabilitation. We want to help stroke survivors stay confident and active also after being discharged from rehabilitation.

How do we do it?

As always at RRD, the people are central to everything we do. Stroke survivors are experts when it comes to living with the consequences of stroke. The design of a feedback device needs to be informed by what stroke survivors need, what works for them and what does not. Therefore, we will carry out workshops and interviews with stroke survivors both in the Netherlands and in Switzerland by our partner cereneo. In addition, we will also interview healthcare professionals, to ensure that STRIDER is well aligned with their work practices and the patient journey, going from rehabilitation centre back home. The technology will be developed in iterations, and we will test early version with stroke survivors to learn quickly, if we get it right and what needs to improve. At the end, we will carry out a study to show that STRIDER indeed improves gait and balance confidence.

Kick-off meeting

The project has a duration of 2 years and we started in the beginning of May 2023 with a project meeting in beautiful Utrecht at Elitac, to get to know each other and get things started. I was quite impressed by all the various products that Elitac already developed (such as the Balance Belt and the Science Suit) and the different use cases given that ‘under the hood’ the technologies are quite similar (for example, using haptic feedback to navigate soldiers in the field). I only met some of the team members online when we were writing the proposal, so it was really nice to meet more team members and also in person.

Where are we in the project?

We are currently carrying out the first workshops with stroke survivors in the Netherlands and Switzerland. More workshops will follow and during the summer we will conduct interviews with stroke survivors and healthcare professionals. Are you a stroke survivor and interested in this project? Either because you want to be informed or because you want to be interviewed by us? You can always contact us!

 

 


This post originally appeared in a slightly different form on the RRD website

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