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Development of a force-sensing cane instrumented within a treadmill-based virtual reality locomotor system

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4 Author(s)
Perez, C. ; Sch. of Phys. & Occupational Therapy, McGill Univ., Montreal, QC, Canada ; Oates, A. ; Hughey, L. ; Fung, J.

We have developed a novel cane device to be used in conjunction with a treadmill-based virtual reality (VR) locomotor system. The instrumentation of such a cane device is described and results examining its use and feasibility as a proof of principle are provided in this preliminary study involving five persons with stroke and 5 healthy participants. Average walking speeds with and without the cane are compared between the over-ground physical environment (PE) and the treadmill-based virtual environment (VE). Gait variability quantified as the % coefficient of variation (CV) for stride duration with and without the cane in the VE is also examined. Furthermore, the vertical loading forces exerted on the cane during level walking in the VE are reported and discussed. Results reveal that walking with the treadmill cane is feasible for use in both healthy and stroke populations. It is evident that people who normally rely on a walking cane benefit more from the instrumented cane than those people who normally walk unaided. This work represents the first instrumented cane for use with a treadmill-based locomotor system.

Published in:

Virtual Rehabilitation International Conference, 2009

Date of Conference:

June 29 2009-July 2 2009