Stretchable Electronics A ‘Game Changer’ For Stroke Recovery Treatment
This article was reviewed by Joanna Lamb, SLP, CCC.
In February 2018, John A. Rogers, a Northwestern University engineering professor, introduced a stretchable electronic sensor at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting. Rogers, along with researchers at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, developed this cutting-edge device to better support stroke rehabilitation.
The throat sensor is one of a series of biosensors developed at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab which all adhere directly to the skin and move along with the body, even during exercise, to monitor health metrics such as muscle activity, sleep quality and heart function.
According to Rogers, his “stretchable electronics allow us to see what is going on inside patients’ bodies at a level traditional wearables simply cannot achieve.” When placed on the throat, the bandage-like sensor measures vocal fold vibrations in a more sophisticated manner than traditional approaches due to its ability to distinguish between voices and ambient noise.
Additionally, since they are wireless, patients are able to wear the sensors home after being discharged from the hospital, which is typically when patients’ progress declines.
Furthermore, the technology allows clinicians to monitor a patient’s communication outside of the therapeutic setting as the sensors provide real-time metrics that can be streamed to computers or phones.
Leora Cherney, an aphasiologist and research scientist at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, expressed how crucial this monitoring is to a patient’s rehabilitation.
According to Cherney, “Having a detailed understanding of patients’ communication habits outside of the clinic helps us develop better strategies with our patients to improve their speaking skills and speed up their recovery process.” In addition to the clinicians being able to stream the data, the sensors can also provide alerts to the patients, helping them track their own progress
Stoner, K. (2018). Stretchable electronics a ‘game changer’ for stroke recovery treatment. Retrieved from https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2018/february/stretchable-electronics-a-game-changer-for-stroke-recovery-treatment/