Updated: Jun 17, 2020
Tele-Rehab 2.0 was created with accessibility in mind. The project’s main goal is to provide rehabilitation services to populations who face barriers to receiving important rehabilitation care. Along the way it has also become a priority that the rehabilitation assessments received remotely are of the same quality as in-person assessments. With the technologies Martin has curated, Tele-Rehab 2.0 will provide rehabilitation care to seniors and rural Albertans which is just as accurate and precise, if not more so, than in-person assessments.
The need for more precise assessments in rehabilitation was also seen by one of our collaborators, Kinetisense. I spoke with Ryan Comeau, the Co-founder and CEO of Kinetisense, who told me more about the markerless motion capture our project uses and the motivation behind the company.
Markerless motion capture allows for tracking of biomechanics in 3D without the patient having to wear any of the special tracking markers motion capture usually requires. This is important for a number of reasons. Body movements happen in three planes, but only about 25-30% of this movement is picked up in an in-person assessment. This means that capturing 3D movements with Kinetisense will let clinicians track more movement. The absence of markers on the body also means that the firing of the muscles is unaffected so it is a more pure assessment. Lastly, Kinetisense markerless motion capture will always record the joints in the same place, whereas markers can give a different reading each time if they are moved even slightly.
Kinetisense provides clinicians with angles and measurements of movements which make assessments more objective and precise. These measurements allow clinicians to differentiate smaller changes than in-person assessments, and ensures that all clinicians receive the same information. This leads to better care and better outcomes for patients.
Ryan was inspired to create this markerless motion capture technology to solve a problem he experienced as he grew up. Ryan was a hockey player who sustained many injuries, but never felt he had good therapy. This continued into his university years where it seemed to be one problem after another, and clinicians couldn’t offer a good explanation. As he continued to study and research he found that the existing way of accessing biomechanics was just eyeballing by clinicians, which is subjective and doesn’t provide any hard data. He wanted to create something that was objective, efficient, and affordable. This idea, along with the technical support provided by Co-founder and COO David Schnare, brought Kinetisense to life.
Tele-Rehab 2.0 is focused on seniors and rural Albertans, but the technologies have implications which can reach much further. Ryan remarked that Kinetisense has transitioned into rural healthcare with our partnership and has been filling needs during pandemic times, but that he thinks remote assessment is a great option for anytime. Society has found new ways to communicate, so why don’t we do assessment in those ways too? The pandemic has made many of us stop and reassess why we do things the way we do, and often it is because we have simply always done things that way. The introduction of tele-rehabilitation to many during COVID-19 has us asking if there is a better way to do rehabilitation assessments (Hint: there is!). We're excited to see Kinetisense in action during our trials soon!