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A Computational Framework Towards the Tele-Rehabilitation of Balance Control Skills

Kubra Akbas,
Published: 9 June 2021
Frontiers in Robotics and AI , Volume 8; doi:10.3389/frobt.2021.648485

Abstract: Mobility has been one of the most impacted aspects of human life due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Home confinement, the lack of access to physical rehabilitation, and prolonged immobilization of COVID-19-positive patients within hospitals are three major factors that affected the mobility of the general population world-wide. Balance is one key indicator to monitor the possible movement disorders that may arise both during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the coming future post-COVID-19. A systematic quantification of the balance performance in the general population is essential for preventing the appearance and progression of certain diseases (e.g., cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and musculoskeletal), as well as for assessing the therapeutic outcomes of prescribed physical exercises for elderly and pathological patients. Current research on clinical exercises and associated outcome measures of balance is still far from reaching a consensus on a “golden standard” practice. Moreover, patients are often reluctant or unable to follow prescribed exercises, because of overcrowded facilities, lack of reliable and safe transportation, or stay-at-home orders due to the current pandemic. A novel balance assessment methodology, in combination with a home-care technology, can overcome these limitations. This paper presents a computational framework for the in-home quantitative assessment of balance control skills. Novel outcome measures of balance performance are implemented in the design of rehabilitation exercises with customized and quantifiable training goals. Using this framework in conjunction with a portable technology, physicians can treat and diagnose patients remotely, with reduced time and costs and a highly customized approach. The methodology proposed in this research can support the development of innovative technologies for smart and connected home-care solutions for physical therapy rehabilitation.
Keywords: telehealth / balance assessment / mobility / COVID - 19 / Physical rehabilitation / Remote health care / homecare / Margins of balance / balanced region / center of mass / Balance perturbation

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