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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital: NIH And NSF Award Research Grant To Dr. Fager For Wireless Sensor Research

Collaborative project involves development, testing and assessment of sensors for assisting patients' rehab without cumbersome technology. (August 21, 2014)

LINCOLN, Neb., Aug. 21, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --The National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation have awarded a portion of a $500,000, 3-year grant to Dr. Susan Fager, CCC-SLP, Director, Communication Center, Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, for a collaborative Smart and Connected Health project titled "Hierarchical Capacitive Sensing for Environmental Control and Physical Therapy for Patients with Paralysis."

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This project is a collaboration with new research partners Dr. Nilanjan Banerjee (Principal Investigator), Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland; and, Dr. Pat Parkerson, Associate Professor, Computer Science and Computer Engineering, University of Arkansas.

The research involves development, testing and assessment of dime-sized, wireless sensors that can be placed anywhere, such as bed sheets, clothing, furniture and other items. The sensors detect movement, which, in turn, initiates a response, such as turning on a light, recording activity or shutting a door. They are powered by ambient light, so are easily recharged.

"These sensors could be a wonderful assistance to patients in rehabilitation," said Dr. Fager. "The sensors may greatly expand a person's ability to control their environment or record their own rehab exercises or communicate - without the cumbersome size and complexity of our current assistive technology."

The sensors may also be used in developing products in a medical setting, and eventually, home use.

The 3-year research project, based at Madonna's Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering, will begin with technology development and focus group assessment. "Our goal is to develop novel sensing technology that is reliable, easy to set-up and use, and that seamlessly integrates into the patient's environment to support environmental control, communication and therapeutic exercise," Dr. Fager added.

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital is one of the nation's foremost facilities for medical rehabilitation and research. Specializing in traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and pediatric rehabilitation, Madonna offers hope and healing to thousands of patients from throughout the country each year.

Madonna's team of highly specialized physiatrists, therapists, rehabilitation nurses, clinicians and researchers work with the most advanced technology and equipment to help each person achieve the highest level of independence.

Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital is located at 5401 South Street in Lincoln, Nebraska, 68506; 402-413-3000;

Contact: Molly Nance, Director of Marketing and PR, 402-413-4290

SOURCE Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital

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