ISS 2017 Program


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PS9.1: Using Wearable Sensors to Track Upper Extremity Motion in Rehabilitation: A Literature Review

Wearable sensors have become increasingly popular in tracking upper extremity motion for different rehabilitation applications due to their low-cost and portable nature. This review paper summarizes these applications where wearable inertia motion sensors are used to assess the level of upper extremity use post spinal cord injury or stroke, to correlated with observation-based clinical outcome measures for potential use as outcome tools, to support therapeutic interventions on upper extremity rehabilitation, and to assess upper extremity kinematics during activities of daily living such as wheelchair propulsion. The paper also gathers information regarding the validity of such sensors in tracking upper extremity motion and discusses the influence of their accuracy on different rehabilitation applications. Barriers and facilitators to clinical deployment of wearable sensors in upper extremity analysis are discussed.


Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this session, attendees will be able to;



Akhila Veerubhotla, MS
Human Engineering Research Laboratory
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
United States

Akhila Veerubhotla, MS, is currently a doctoral student with the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology (RST), School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, and a Research Associate at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories. She completed her MS in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University with a focus on Rehab Robotics. Her research interests are in the field of rehabilitation engineering and human biomechanics.

Dan Ding, PhD
University of Pittsburgh
5044 Forbes Tower
Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania


    1. Morrow, M. M., Lowndes, B., Fortune, E., Kaufman, K. R., & Hallbeck, S. (2016). Validation of Inertial Measurement Units for Upper Body Kinematics. Journal of Applied Biomechanics, 1-19.
    2. El-Gohary, M., & McNames, J. (2012). Shoulder and elbow joint angle tracking with inertial sensors. IEEE transactions on biomedical engineering, 59(9), 2635-2641.
    3. Pierella, C., Abdollahi, F., Farshchiansadegh, A., Pedersen, J., Chen, D., Mussa-Ivaldi, F. A., & Casadio, M. (2014, August). Body machine interfaces for neuromotor rehabilitation: a case study. In 2014 36th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (pp. 397-401). IEEE.
    4. Brogioli, M., Popp, W. L., Albisser, U., Brust, A. K., Frotzler, A., Gassert, R., ... & Starkey, M. L. (2016). Novel Sensor Technology to Assess Independence and Limb-Use Laterality in Cervical Spinal Cord Injury. Journal of neurotrauma.

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