Development and Validation of a Portable fNIRS Device to Aid in Post-stroke Motor Recovery
Friesen, Christopher Lee
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Post-stroke physical rehabilitation has been shown to be beneficial in helping to completely or partially reduce stroke survivors’ impairment and increase their functional abilities, as well as in helping stroke survivors maintain their current level of function and mitigate the risk of further impairment. However, the high costs of rehabilitation, together with the scientific and medical communities’ inability to understand the relationship between the particulars of an individual’s stroke, their rehabilitation, and their motor recovery, results in suboptimal post-stroke motor recovery at a population level. This dissertation outlines the initial steps in the development and validation of a product which endeavours to positively impact these problems: the Axem Home. The Axem Home is a brain-computer-interface system designed to independently guide stroke survivors through rehabilitation exercises while collecting neurophysiological data (via functional near-infrared spectroscopy or fNIRS) relating to their motor recovery. In particular, the chapters of this dissertation outline work: investigating the viability of early fNIRS prototypes (Chapter 2), comparing the performance of an early fNIRS prototype to an established research system (Chapter 3), conducting an initial formative usability study (Chapter 4), and examining preliminary fNIRS data collected on stroke survivors in their homes (Chapter 5). While the steps described herein are only preliminary, the creation of such a product (which has the capacity to both provide cost-effective rehabilitation and improve our collective understanding of post-stroke motor recovery) represents a noteworthy attempt to innovate in an important and challenging clinical and scientific domain.