Technology-Assisted Mobility Assessment

Dr. Karl Zabjek placing sensors on a patient's legLimitations in mobility persist as one of the leading causes of disability in individuals who are living with a complex neurological or musculoskeletal condition. This may prevent the individual from performing activities of daily living, engaging in physical activity, and/or participating in meaningful life situations. These limitations can have potentially profound negative consequences for the overall health and quality of life of the individual, and is a potential source of significant cost to the health care system.

Although traditional models of assessment and treatment are typically implemented within an institutional setting, it is often when the person arrives at home and engages in meaningful activities of daily life that the extent of the mobility limitation becomes evident. Emerging technology within the field of Movement and Rehabilitation Technology Science has provided a unique opportunity to obtain a balanced perspective of how the person interacts with their environment, and the underlying structural and functional determinants that influence this interaction.

This stream of Dr. Zabjek’s program of research aims to develop, evaluate and apply technological innovations to understand the determinants of mobility limitation as individuals living with a complex musculoskeletal or neurological condition interact with the environment. Within this context, the primary work in his laboratory has focused on the following:

  • Development of ambulatory models of assessment.
  • Development of optical sensor networks to understand the interaction of the person in relation to the environment.

The innovations developed in this program of research provide a new opportunity bridge the gap between basic science research that is typically performed in a laboratory environment, with research that is performed in a clinical and community setting.