Texas MRC Research Projects

 

This proposal is focusing on development of a portable, feedback controlled, programmable hand rehabilitation unit for continuous passive motion (CPM) and active resistive motion (ARM) with capabilities of recording the range of motion and stiffens of finger joints. Initial focus is to apply the devise for with neurologically impaired hands. About 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year and 30% to 66% of all stroke survivors have impaired hand functions. Robotic rehabilitation devices have been investigated to perform exercises to recover lost functions and have shown promising preliminary results. However, a device that can perform CPM for opening and closing the hand, operating with adjustable force and speed of movement, and control over individual joints is not commercially available. UTARI has developed a soft robotic hand rehabilitation prototype that can provide the requirements for CPM therapy. The research proposed here aims to investigate the dynamic interaction between the hand and the prototype, improve the prototypes for clinical testing, and evaluate safety, comfort, and efficacy through a small scale pilot study. The impacts of a portable, lightweight, and adaptable device for directed hand therapy are far reaching. Through our proposed work we will develop and validate a device with these capabilities and direct feedback to the user indicating joint position. Hand therapy is an expensive and specific service that is not available to all patients where device based therapy could revolutionize standard care of hand rehabilitation.

Muthu Wijesundara, Ph.D. UTA
muthuw@uta.edu//817-272-5994//Biography
Co-PIs:
Nicoleta Bugnariu, PT, Ph.D. UNTHSC
Timothy Niacaris, MD, Ph.D. UNTHSC
Rita Patterson, Ph.D. UNTHSC

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We propose to create a miniaturized watch-based energy expenditure monitoring system. Our proposed system will combine heart rate acquired from a wrist-worn photoplethysmogram (PPG) sensor and physical activities using motion sensors in a watch. We will create predictors and fitting functions that use heart rate and activity type/level to estimate the energy expenditure. Our fitting functions customized for individuals will be validated in conjunction with an integrated metabolic measurement system. We will focus on advanced motion artifact rejection techniques that will incorporate the notion of context. Context includes noise models obtained from the motion sensors, as well as the models for the heart rate collected in the past. Knowing that the heart rate cannot fluctuate rapidly, during the periods when the noise due to the motion artifacts increases significantly, we will use the heart rate detected prior to the increased motion-induced artifacts to guide the signal processing modules. We will create signal processing techniques to identify physical activities from the motion sensors. We will validate our energy expenditure monitoring system against an integrated metabolic measurement system at UT-Arlington on (N=20) human subjects.


Roozbeh Jafari, Ph.D. UTD
Associate Professor – Electrical Engineering
rjafari@utdallas.edu//972.883.5609//Biography

Co-PI:
Christpher Ray, Ph.D. UTA

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The purpose of this project is to develop and market a glass-based Neuro-Sensor as a high throughput drug discovery tool. This transparent device directs the growth of nerve cell projections (i.e., axons or dendrites) through mesa-scale microfluidic channels. Electrical impedance sensors through microelectrodes will be incorporated into the device to monitor and quantify the biological response of axon growth when neurons are exposed to a variety of chemicals.  The Neuro-Sensor here proposed has many dramatic advantages over traditional assays such as simple operation, rapid detection, long-term stability of chemically inert substrates, low cost, and high sensitivity. The product will not only be applicable to nerve regeneration research, but also to many micro-level cellular experimental applications including cell migration, wound healing and blood flow.

Principal Investigator:

Richard Billo, Ph.D., UTA
Professor-College of Engineering, Associate Dean of Engineering for Research-College of Engineering
richard.billo@uta.edu // (817) 272-2708 // Biography (more…)

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Existing blood pressure measurement techniques requiring catheterization are not suitable for wearable applications and continuous monitoring. Cuff-based solutions, on the other hand, are uncomfortable and are only suitable for occasional monitoring. Monitoring blood pressure for individuals with hypertension, the elderly in home-care/assisted-living units, or people who are recovering at home following medical treatment requires a simple, inexpensive, non-invasive and comfortable device. The aim of this project is to develop a non-invasive wearable blood pressure monitoring device using pulse transit time (PTT).

Principal Investigator:

Roozbeh Jafari, Ph.D UTD
Electrical Engineering Department
rjafari@utdallas.edu // 972-883-6509 // Biography (more…)

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Mental health is one of the major health issues costing more than $57B annually. Depressive disorder is a major disease of psychiatric disorders. For those patients who failed current behavioral and pharmacological treatment, one option is the deep brain stimulation. The objective of this proposal is to develop an implantable wireless close-loop feedback system that enables the detection of neural signals in the targeted brain site(s) and use these neural signals to trigger electrical stimulation for depression management. Electrical stimulation of neural substrates will increase the set of neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine) that are determinants for mood. The final goal of the project is to design an implantable system that can be used for clinical treatment of depression. (more…)

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Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers; it accounts for nearly 40% of all cancer cases, and its incidence is increasing. Suspicious skin lesions are often biopsied, a procedure that is unpleasant for the patient and slow to yield diagnostic results. In addition, the rate of unnecessary biopsies is as high as 50% or higher, causing needless mental stress and health care burden. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop a fast, accurate, and noninvasive detection method to minimize unnecessary biopsies as well as to improve false negatives that are missed by dermatologists. The hypothesis for this study is that a portable, high spatial resolution, hyper-spectral imaging system (HSIS) can be implemented, validated and translated to clinics for fast and accurate detection of skin cancer, possibly as an electronic second opinion. (more…)

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One in three older adults fall each year causing serious, life threatening injuries, increasing caregiver burden, and health care costs. The majority of research focused on understanding what causes falls in older adults considers the impact of age-related visual, motor and cognitive impairments. Recent studies have shown that individuals with hearing loss may be at greater risk of falls than individuals without hearing loss. Importantly, hearing loss affects more than half of adults over the age of 65 and startlingly, of those who could benefit from a hearing aid (thus potentially reducing falls), 2/3 decline or fail to seek treatment. Overall, despite the acknowledged association between hearing loss and falls, very few systematic studies have adequately defined this relationship. (more…)

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Through the support of the TexasMRC Grant, the research team has made progress towards investigating a new method for Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) monitoring that uses CO2 sensors placed in a crib around an infant to non-invasively monitor the variation in exhaled air concentration from him/her.  The goal is to detect any abnormal or irregular patterns in the infant’s breathing by monitoring the outputs of the CO2 sensors.  The output data can be used to activate an alarm or logged for diagnosis. (more…)
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Prototype of the e-strip, which uses an IC chip developed at UTD, has been created for the Diagnostics of Diabetes. This salivary test checks a number of diabetes markers, is non-invasive, painless, and inexpensive. Researchers are testing effectiveness of the salivary test compared to the standard blood test. (more…)

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The goal is to develop 400 sensors to place in a diabetes patient’s shoe to monitor the pressure on their foot and ultimately prevent foot ulcers from developing. The technology is unique because it is designed to measure the pressure and shear on the foot at the same time. The researchers have completed the design of the sensors and have fabricated IC components. (more…)

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