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Special Issue "Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 28983

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Redha Taiar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Physical Education and Sports (EPS), University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, 51100 Reims, France
Interests: biomechanics of health disease and rehabilitation; industry engineering for medicine and high-level sport
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The purpose of this Special Issue is to specify and understand the impact of sensors in carrying data permitting the comprehension of human behavior in daily life tasks. The main aim of quantification with sensors is to explore and understand biological problems. This can include augmented human research in biomechanics or medicine. Our objective is to summarize the most important advances in the parameters influencing human performance related to health sciences for all age groups, throughout their lives. We encourage papers that aim to promote the latest research in the field of biomechanics, disease, and rehabilitation and to summarize the best recommendations. We also invite papers that help to prevent functional decline and frailty following a life course perspective approach through the utilization of the latest research in biomechanics and applications targeted at all stages of life aimed at the prevention and management of diseases and improvement of rehabilitation practices. Biomechanical tools and methods allow quantifying and improving the disparate parameters characterizing movement in different cases, such as sport level, work, and patients’ daily lives. The aim is to effectively combine and coordinate biomechanical research and results to understand and improve human mechanics in medicine, sport, and at work.

Prof. Dr. Redha Taiar
Prof. Dr. Mario Bernardo-Filho
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • sport performance
  • sport science
  • mechanical analyses of sports
  • sport medicine
  • gait and posture
  • injury biomechanics
  • health, rehabilitation, human behavior, and musculoskeletal and neuromuscular biomechanics
  • human behavior
  • musculoskeletal disorders
  • ergonomic science

Published Papers (18 papers)

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Research

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Communication
Prediction of Type and Recurrence of Atrial Fibrillation after Catheter Ablation via Left Atrial Electroanatomical Voltage Mapping Registration and Multilayer Perceptron Classification: A Retrospective Study
Sensors 2022, 22(11), 4058; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22114058 - 27 May 2022
Viewed by 836
Abstract
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac arrhythmia and affects one to two percent of the population. In this work, we leverage the three-dimensional atrial endocardial unipolar/bipolar voltage map to predict the AF type and recurrence of AF in 1 year. This problem [...] Read more.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac arrhythmia and affects one to two percent of the population. In this work, we leverage the three-dimensional atrial endocardial unipolar/bipolar voltage map to predict the AF type and recurrence of AF in 1 year. This problem is challenging for two reasons: (1) the unipolar/bipolar voltages are collected at different locations on the endocardium and the shapes of the endocardium vary widely in different patients, and thus the unipolar/bipolar voltage maps need aligning to the same coordinate; (2) the collected dataset size is very limited. To address these issues, we exploit a pretrained 3D point cloud registration approach and finetune it on left atrial voltage maps to learn the geometric feature and align all voltage maps into the same coordinate. After alignment, we feed the unipolar/bipolar voltages from the registered points into a multilayer perceptron (MLP) classifier to predict whether patients have paroxysmal or persistent AF, and the risk of recurrence of AF in 1 year for patients in sinus rhythm. The experiment shows our method classifies the type and recurrence of AF effectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Development of an IoT Electrostimulator with Closed-Loop Control
Sensors 2022, 22(9), 3551; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22093551 - 07 May 2022
Viewed by 964
Abstract
The most used approach in the motor rehabilitation of spinal cord injury is functional electrical stimulation. However, current devices do not provide real-time feedback, work in the closed-loop, and became remotely operable. In this scenario, this paper presents the development of an open [...] Read more.
The most used approach in the motor rehabilitation of spinal cord injury is functional electrical stimulation. However, current devices do not provide real-time feedback, work in the closed-loop, and became remotely operable. In this scenario, this paper presents the development of an open access 4-channel IoT electrostimulator device with an inertial sensor. The electrostimulator circuit was designed with four modules: Boost Converter, H-bridge, Inertial Measurement Unit, and Processing Module. The firmware was implemented in the processing module to manage the modules to perform closed-loop stimulation (using PID controller). To perform the proof of concept of the device, a closed loop test was performed to control the ankle joint, performing the movements of dorsiflexion, plantar flexion, inversion, and eversion. The designed hardware allowed one to freely change the boost converter voltage and modulate the signal with 200 μs of pulse duration and 50 Hz of period in a safe and stable way. Furthermore, the controller was able to move the ankle joint in all desired directions following the reference values and respecting the imposed constraints. In general, the developed hardware was able to safely control a closed-loop joint. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Shock Response Spectrum Analysis of Fatigued Runners
Sensors 2022, 22(6), 2350; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22062350 - 18 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1227
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of fatigue on impact shock wave attenuation and assess how human biomechanics relate to shock attenuation during running. In this paper, we propose a new methodology for the analysis of shock events occurring [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of fatigue on impact shock wave attenuation and assess how human biomechanics relate to shock attenuation during running. In this paper, we propose a new methodology for the analysis of shock events occurring during the proposed experimental procedure. Our approach is based on the Shock Response Spectrum (SRS), which is a frequency-based function that is used to indicate the magnitude of vibration due to a shock or a transient event. Five high level CrossFit athletes who ran at least three times per week and who were free from musculoskeletal injury volunteered to take part in this study. Two Micromachined Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometers (RunScribe®, San Francisco, CA, USA) were used for this experiment. The two RunScribe pods were mounted on top of the foot in the shoelaces. All five athletes performed three maximum intensity runs: the 1st run was performed after a brief warmup with no prior exercise, then the 2nd and the 3rd run were performed in a fatigued state. Prior to the 2nd and the 3rd run, the athletes were asked to perform at maximum intensity for two minutes on an Assault AirBike to tire them. For all five athletes, there was a direct correlation between fatigue and an increase in the aggressiveness of the SRS. We noticed that for all five athletes for the 3rd run the average SRS peaks were significantly higher than for the 1st run and 2nd run (p < 0.01) at the same natural frequency of the athlete. This confirms our hypothesis that fatigue causes a decrease in the shock attenuation capacity of the musculoskeletal system thus potentially involving a higher risk of overuse injury. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Aging and Bimanual Effects on Finger Center of Pressure during Precision Grip: Different Strategies for Spatial Stability
Sensors 2021, 21(24), 8396; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21248396 - 16 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1333
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to examine aging and bimanual effects on finger spatial stability during precision grip. Twenty-one older and 21 younger adults performed precision grip tasks consisting of a single task (grip and lift an object with the thumb and [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to examine aging and bimanual effects on finger spatial stability during precision grip. Twenty-one older and 21 younger adults performed precision grip tasks consisting of a single task (grip and lift an object with the thumb and index finger) and a dual task (the grip-lifting task with one hand and a peg board task with the other hand). The center of pressure (COP) trajectory and the grip force were evaluated using a pressure sensor with a high spatial resolution. In the COP trajectory, the main effects of age for the thumb (F1,140 = 46.17, p < 0.01) and index finger (F1,140 = 22.14, p < 0.01) and task difficulty for the thumb (F1,140 = 6.47, p = 0.01) were significant based on ANCOVA. The COP trajectory was statistically decreased in the older adults. The COP trajectory was also decreased in the dual task, regardless of age. The results suggest the existence of a safety strategy to prioritize the spatial stability in the elderly group and in the dual task. This study provides new insights into the interpretation of the COP trajectory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Integrated Pedal System for Data Driven Rehabilitation
Sensors 2021, 21(23), 8115; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21238115 - 04 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1152
Abstract
We present a system capable of providing visual feedback for ergometer training, allowing detailed analysis and gamification. The presented solution can easily upgrade any existing ergometer device. The system consists of a set of pedals with embedded sensors, readout electronics and wireless communication [...] Read more.
We present a system capable of providing visual feedback for ergometer training, allowing detailed analysis and gamification. The presented solution can easily upgrade any existing ergometer device. The system consists of a set of pedals with embedded sensors, readout electronics and wireless communication modules and a tablet device for interaction with the users, which can be mounted on any ergometer, transforming it into a full analytical assessment tool with interactive training capabilities. The methods to capture the forces and moments applied to the pedal, as well as the pedal’s angular position, were validated using reference sensors and high-speed video capture systems. The mean-absolute error (MAE) for load is found to be 18.82 N, 25.35 N, 0.153 Nm for Fx, Fz and Mx respectively and the MAE for the pedal angle is 13.2°. A fully gamified experience of ergometer training has been demonstrated with the presented system to enhance the rehabilitation experience with audio visual feedback, based on measured cycling parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Using Sensorized Gloves and Dimensional Reduction for Hand Function Assessment of Patients with Osteoarthritis
Sensors 2021, 21(23), 7897; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21237897 - 26 Nov 2021
Viewed by 1019
Abstract
Sensorized gloves allow the measurement of all hand kinematics that are essential for daily functionality. However, they are scarcely used by clinicians, mainly because of the difficulty of analyzing all joint angles simultaneously. This study aims to render this analysis easier in order [...] Read more.
Sensorized gloves allow the measurement of all hand kinematics that are essential for daily functionality. However, they are scarcely used by clinicians, mainly because of the difficulty of analyzing all joint angles simultaneously. This study aims to render this analysis easier in order to enable the applicability of the early detection of hand osteoarthritis (HOA) and the identification of indicators of dysfunction. Dimensional reduction was used to compare kinematics (16 angles) of HOA patients and healthy subjects while performing the tasks of the Sollerman hand function test (SHFT). Five synergies were identified by using principal component (PC) analyses, patients using less fingers arch, higher palm arching, and a more independent thumb abduction. The healthy PCs, explaining 70% of patients’ data variance, were used to transform the set of angles of both samples into five reduced variables (RVs): fingers arch, hand closure, thumb-index pinch, forced thumb opposition, and palmar arching. Significant differences between samples were identified in the ranges of movement of most of the RVs and in the median values of hand closure and thumb opposition. A discriminant function for the detection of HOA, based in RVs, is provided, with a success rate of detection higher than that of the SHFT. The temporal profiles of the RVs in two tasks were also compared, showing their potentiality as dysfunction indicators. Finally, reducing the number of sensors to only one sensor per synergy was explored through a linear regression, resulting in a mean error of 7.0°. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Use of Plantar Pressure Sensors to Take Weight-Bearing Foot Casts
Sensors 2021, 21(22), 7476; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21227476 - 10 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 924
Abstract
Techniques of taking casts mainly rely not on the objectivity of the procedure, but on the experience and skill of the technician. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the efficiency of a technique of taking standing foot casts controlled via pressure [...] Read more.
Techniques of taking casts mainly rely not on the objectivity of the procedure, but on the experience and skill of the technician. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the efficiency of a technique of taking standing foot casts controlled via pressure sensors. In this way, we mean to objectivize the degree of correction. The study was carried out through 150 procedures on 50 feet of 29 patients. The value of the “Heel Symmetry Index” was calculated on three casts in three different situations of the same foot: A first cast in which the subject did not control the position of his/her foot; a second cast where manipulations corrected the foot’s pronator position; and a third cast with pressure sensors placed in the subject’s heel. This enabled the control and quantification of the pressure during the manipulation when taking the cast. The comparison of the “Heel Symmetry Index” in the different groups showed significant p-values of 0.05. Conclusion: The technique of taking casts controlled by pressure sensors achieved more equilibrated casts with a better symmetry index of the heel’s outline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
On Measuring Implant Fixation Stability in ACL Reconstruction
Sensors 2021, 21(19), 6632; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21196632 - 06 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1241
Abstract
Numerous methods and devices are available for implant fixation in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Biomechanical data indicate high variability in fixation stability across different devices. This study aims to provide a better insight into measuring the structural characteristics and mechanical behavior of [...] Read more.
Numerous methods and devices are available for implant fixation in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Biomechanical data indicate high variability in fixation stability across different devices. This study aims to provide a better insight into measuring the structural characteristics and mechanical behavior of ACL implant fixations. Fourteen human tibial specimens with reconstructed ACLs were subjected to progressively increasing dynamic loading until failure. The motions of the tibia, the proximal and distal graft ends, as well as the testing frame and actuator, were continuously recorded via a motion tracking system. Significantly higher displacements of the machine actuator (1.0 mm at graft slippage onset, and 12.2 mm at ultimate load) were measured compared to the displacements of the proximal (0.8 and 4.3 mm, respectively) and distal graft (0.1 and 3.4 mm, respectively) ends. The displacements measured at different sites showed significant correlations. The provided data suggest significant and systematic inaccuracies in the stiffness and slippage of the fixation when using machine displacement, as commonly reported in the literature. The assessment of the distal graft displacement excludes the artifactual graft elongation, and most accurately reflects the graft slippage onset indicating clinical failure. Considering the high displacement at the ultimate load, the ultimate load could be used as a standardized variable to compare different fixation methods. However, the ultimate load alone is not sufficient to qualitatively describe fixation stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Thermal Effects during Bone Preparation and Insertion of Osseointegrated Transfemoral Implants
Sensors 2021, 21(18), 6267; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21186267 - 18 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 963
Abstract
Background: The preparation of bone for the insertion of an osseointegrated transfemoral implant and the insertion process are performed at very low speeds in order to avoid thermal damages to bone tissue which may potentially jeopardize implant stability. The aim of this study [...] Read more.
Background: The preparation of bone for the insertion of an osseointegrated transfemoral implant and the insertion process are performed at very low speeds in order to avoid thermal damages to bone tissue which may potentially jeopardize implant stability. The aim of this study was to quantify the temperature increase in the femur at different sites and insertion depths, relative to the final implant position during the stepwise implantation procedure. Methods: The procedure for installation of the osseointegrated implant was performed on 24 femoral specimens. In one specimen of each pair, the surgery was performed at the clinically practiced speed, while the speed was doubled in the contralateral specimen. Six 0.075 mm K fine gauge thermocouples (RS Components, Sorby, UK) were inserted into the specimen at a distance of 0.5 mm from the final implant surface, and six were inserted at a distance of 1.0 mm. Results: Drilling caused a temperature increase of <2.5 °C and was not statistically significantly different for most drill sizes (0.002 < p < 0.845). The mean increase in temperature during thread tapping and implant insertion was <5.0 °C, whereas the speed had an effect on the temperature increase during thread tapping. Conclusions: Drilling is the most time-consuming part of the surgery. Doubling the clinically practiced speed did not generate more heat during this step, suggesting the speed and thus the time- and cost-effectiveness of the procedure could be increased. The frequent withdrawal of the instruments and removal of the bone chips is beneficial to prevent temperature peaks, especially during thread tapping. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Development of a Smart Leg Splint by Using New Sensor Technologies and New Therapy Possibilities
Sensors 2021, 21(15), 5252; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21155252 - 03 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1886
Abstract
Nowadays, after suffering a fracture in an upper or lower limb, a plaster cast is placed on the affected limb. It is a very old and efficient technique for recovery from an injury that has not had significant changes since its origin. This [...] Read more.
Nowadays, after suffering a fracture in an upper or lower limb, a plaster cast is placed on the affected limb. It is a very old and efficient technique for recovery from an injury that has not had significant changes since its origin. This project aims to develop a new low-cost smart 3D printed splint concept by using new sensing techniques. Two rapidly evolving Advanced Manufacturing (AM) technologies will be used: 3D scanning and 3D printing, thus combining engineering, medicine and materials evolution. The splint will include new small and lightweight sensors to detect any problem during the treatment process. Previous studies have already incorporated this kind of sensor for medical purposes. However, in this study it is implemented with a new concept: the possibility of applying treatments during the immobilization process and obtaining information from the sensors to modify the treatment. Due to this, rehabilitation treatments like infrared, ultrasounds or electroshock may be applied during the treatment, and the sensors (as it is showed in the study) will be able to detect changes during the rehabilitation process. Data of the pressure, temperature, humidity and colour of the skin will be collected in real time and sent to a mobile device so that they can be consulted remotely by a specialist. Moreover, it would be possible to include these data into the Internet of Things movement. This way, all the collected data might be compared and studied in order to find the best treatment for each kind of injury. It will be necessary to use a biocompatible material, submersible and suitable for contact with skin. These materials make it necessary to control the conditions in which the splint is produced, to assure that the properties are maintained. This development, makes it possible to design a new methodology that will help to provide faster and easier treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Validation of a 3D Camera System for Cycling Analysis
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4473; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134473 - 30 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2292
Abstract
Background: Kinematic analysis aimed toward scientific investigation or professional purposes is commonly unaffordable and complex to use. Objective: The purpose of this study was to verify concurrent validation between a cycling-specific 3D camera and the gold-standard 3D general camera systems. Methods: Overall, 11 [...] Read more.
Background: Kinematic analysis aimed toward scientific investigation or professional purposes is commonly unaffordable and complex to use. Objective: The purpose of this study was to verify concurrent validation between a cycling-specific 3D camera and the gold-standard 3D general camera systems. Methods: Overall, 11 healthy amateur male triathletes were filmed riding their bicycles with Vicon 3D cameras and the Retul 3D cameras for bike fitting analysis simultaneously. All 18 kinematic measurements given by the bike fitting system were compared with the same data given by Vicon cameras through Pearson correlation (r), intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), standard error measurements (SEM), and Bland–Altman (BA) analysis. Confidence intervals of 95% are given. Results: A very high correlation between cameras was found on six of 18 measurements. All other presented a high correlation between cameras (between 0.7 and 0.9). In total, six variables indicate a SEM of less than one degree between systems. Only two variables indicate a SEM higher than two degrees between camera systems. Overall, four measures indicate bias tendency according to BA. Conclusions: The cycling-specific led-emitting 3D camera system tested revealed a high or very high degree of correlation with the gold-standard 3D camera system used in laboratory motion capture. In total, 14 measurements of this equipment could be used in sports medicine clinical practice and even by researchers of cycling studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Impact of Patellar Tendinopathy on Isokinetic Knee Strength and Jumps in Professional Basketball Players
Sensors 2021, 21(13), 4259; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21134259 - 22 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1713
Abstract
Patellar tendinopathy is characterized by tendon pain which may reduce the level of performance. This study’s main aim was to compare isokinetic knee strength and jump performances at the start of the sport season between players with patellar tendinopathy and those without. Secondary [...] Read more.
Patellar tendinopathy is characterized by tendon pain which may reduce the level of performance. This study’s main aim was to compare isokinetic knee strength and jump performances at the start of the sport season between players with patellar tendinopathy and those without. Secondary aims were to assess the relationship between knee strength and jump function. Sixty-two professional basketball players were enrolled (mean age: 25.0 ± 4.0). All players performed knee isokinetic measurements, single leg countermovement jumps, and one leg hop tests. Correlations between knee strength and jump performances were examined. Twenty-four players declared a patellar tendinopathy and were compared to the 38 players without tendinopathy. The isokinetic quadriceps strength was lower in cases of patellar tendinopathy, and a camel’s back curve was observed in 58% of the cases of patellar tendinopathy. However, jump performances were preserved. No link was found between quadriceps and hamstring limb symmetry indexes at 60 and 180°/s with jumps. This preseason screening enabled us to identify the absence of consequences of patellar tendinopathy in professional basketball players. Jump performances were not altered, possibly due to compensatory strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Podiatrist-Delivered Health Coaching to Facilitate the Use of a Smart Insole to Support Foot Health Monitoring in People with Diabetes-Related Peripheral Neuropathy
Sensors 2021, 21(12), 3984; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21123984 - 09 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1972
Abstract
This trial evaluated the feasibility of podiatrist-led health coaching (HC) to facilitate smart-insole adoption and foot monitoring in adults with diabetes-related neuropathy. Adults aged 69.9 ± 5.6 years with diabetes for 13.7 ± 10.3 years participated in this 4-week explanatory sequential mixed-methods intervention. [...] Read more.
This trial evaluated the feasibility of podiatrist-led health coaching (HC) to facilitate smart-insole adoption and foot monitoring in adults with diabetes-related neuropathy. Adults aged 69.9 ± 5.6 years with diabetes for 13.7 ± 10.3 years participated in this 4-week explanatory sequential mixed-methods intervention. An HC training package was delivered to podiatrists, who used HC to issue a smart insole to support foot monitoring. Insole usage data monitored adoption. Changes in participant understanding of neuropathy, foot care behaviours, and intention to adopt the smart insole were measured. Focus group and in-depth interviews explored quantitative data. Initial HC appointments took a mean of 43.8 ± 8.8 min. HC fidelity was strong for empathy/rapport and knowledge provision but weak for assessing motivational elements. Mean smart-insole wear was 12.53 ± 3.46 h/day with 71.2 ± 13.9% alerts not effectively off-loaded, with no significant effect for time on usage F(3,6) = 1.194 (p = 0.389) or alert responses F(3,6) = 0.272 (p = 0.843). Improvements in post-trial questionnaire mean scores and focus group responses indicate podiatrist-led HC improved participants’ understanding of neuropathy and implementation of footcare practices. Podiatrist-led HC is feasible, supporting smart-insole adoption and foot monitoring as evidenced by wear time, and improvements in self-reported footcare practices. However, podiatrists require additional feedback to better consolidate some unfamiliar health coaching skills. ACTRN12618002053202. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Analysis of Head Impact Biomechanics in Youth Female Soccer Players Following the Get aHEAD Safely in Soccer™ Heading Intervention
Sensors 2021, 21(11), 3859; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21113859 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1702
Abstract
The effects of repetitive head impacts associated with soccer heading, especially in the youth population, are unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine balance, neurocognitive function, and head impact biomechanics after an acute bout of heading before and after the Get [...] Read more.
The effects of repetitive head impacts associated with soccer heading, especially in the youth population, are unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine balance, neurocognitive function, and head impact biomechanics after an acute bout of heading before and after the Get aHEAD Safely in Soccer™ program intervention. Twelve youth female soccer players wore a Triax SIM-G head impact sensor during two bouts of heading, using a lightweight soccer ball, one before and one after completion of the Get aHEAD Safely in Soccer™ program intervention. Participants completed balance (BESS and SWAY) and neurocognitive function (ImPACT) tests at baseline and after each bout of heading. There were no significant changes in head impact biomechanics, BESS, or ImPACT scores pre- to post-season. Deficits in three of the five SWAY positions were observed from baseline to post-season. Although we expected to see beneficial changes in head impact biomechanics following the intervention, the coaches and researchers observed an improvement in heading technique/form. Lightweight soccer balls would be a beneficial addition to header drills during training as they are safe and help build confidence in youth soccer players. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Quantitative Analysis of Real-Time Infrared Thermography for the Assessment of Lumbar Sympathetic Blocks: A Preliminary Study
Sensors 2021, 21(11), 3573; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21113573 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1589
Abstract
Lumbar sympathetic blocks (LSBs) are commonly performed to treat pain ailments in the lower limbs. LSBs involve injecting local anesthetic around the nerves. The injection is guided by fluoroscopy which is sometimes considered to be insufficiently accurate. The main aim was to analyze [...] Read more.
Lumbar sympathetic blocks (LSBs) are commonly performed to treat pain ailments in the lower limbs. LSBs involve injecting local anesthetic around the nerves. The injection is guided by fluoroscopy which is sometimes considered to be insufficiently accurate. The main aim was to analyze the plantar foot skin temperature data acquired while performing LSBs in patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) affecting the lower limbs. Forty-four LSBs for treating lower limb CRPS in 13 patients were assessed. Pain medicine physicians visualized the infrared thermography (IRT) video in real time and classified the performance depending on the observed thermal changes within the first 4 min. Thirty-two percent of the cases did not register temperature variations after lidocaine was injected, requiring the needle to be relocated. Differences between moments are indicated using the 95% confidence intervals of the differences (CI 95%), the Cohen effect size (ES) and the significance (p value). In successful cases, after injecting lidocaine, increases at minute 7 for the mean (CI 95% (1.4, 2.1 °C), p < 0.001 and ES = 0.5), at minute 5 for maximum temperature (CI 95% (2.3, 3.3 °C), p < 0.001 and ES = 0.6) and at minute 6 for SD (CI 95% (0.2, 0.3 °C), p < 0.001 and ES = 0.5) were observed. The results of our preliminary study showed that the measurement of skin temperature in real time by infrared thermography is valuable for assessing the success of lumbar sympathetic blocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Communication
A Two Joint Neck Model to Identify Malposition of the Head Relative to the Thorax
Sensors 2021, 21(9), 3297; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21093297 - 10 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1736
Abstract
Neck pain is a frequent health complaint. Prolonged protracted malpositions of the head are associated with neck pain and headaches and could be prevented using biofeedback systems. A practical biofeedback system to detect malpositions should be realized with a simple measurement setup. To [...] Read more.
Neck pain is a frequent health complaint. Prolonged protracted malpositions of the head are associated with neck pain and headaches and could be prevented using biofeedback systems. A practical biofeedback system to detect malpositions should be realized with a simple measurement setup. To achieve this, a simple biomechanical model representing head orientation and translation relative to the thorax is introduced. To identify the parameters of this model, anthropometric data were acquired from eight healthy volunteers. In this work we determine (i) the accuracy of the proposed model when the neck length is known, (ii) the dependency of the neck length on the body height, and (iii) the impact of a wrong neck length on the models accuracy. The resulting model is able to describe the motion of the head with a maximum uncertainty of 5 mm only. To achieve this high accuracy the effective neck length must be known a priory. If however, this parameter is assumed to be a linear function of the palpable neck length, the measurement error increases. Still, the resulting accuracy can be sufficient to identify and monitor a protracted malposition of the head relative to the thorax. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Article
Recovery of Distal Arm Movements in Spinal Cord Injured Patients with a Body-Machine Interface: A Proof-of-Concept Study
Sensors 2021, 21(6), 2243; https://doi.org/10.3390/s21062243 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1836
Abstract
Background: The recovery of upper limb mobility and functions is essential for people with cervical spinal cord injuries (cSCI) to maximize independence in daily activities and ensure a successful return to normality. The rehabilitative path should include a thorough neuromotor evaluation and personalized [...] Read more.
Background: The recovery of upper limb mobility and functions is essential for people with cervical spinal cord injuries (cSCI) to maximize independence in daily activities and ensure a successful return to normality. The rehabilitative path should include a thorough neuromotor evaluation and personalized treatments aimed at recovering motor functions. Body-machine interfaces (BoMI) have been proven to be capable of harnessing residual joint motions to control objects like computer cursors and virtual or physical wheelchairs and to promote motor recovery. However, their therapeutic application has still been limited to shoulder movements. Here, we expanded the use of BoMI to promote the whole arm’s mobility, with a special focus on elbow movements. We also developed an instrumented evaluation test and a set of kinematic indicators for assessing residual abilities and recovery. Methods: Five inpatient cSCI subjects (four acute, one chronic) participated in a BoMI treatment complementary to their standard rehabilitative routine. The subjects wore a BoMI with sensors placed on both proximal and distal arm districts and practiced for 5 weeks. The BoMI was programmed to promote symmetry between right and left arms use and the forearms’ mobility while playing games. To evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment, the subjects’ kinematics were recorded while performing an evaluation test that involved functional bilateral arms movements, before, at the end, and three months after training. Results: At the end of the training, all subjects learned to efficiently use the interface despite being compelled by it to engage their most impaired movements. The subjects completed the training with bilateral symmetry in body recruitment, already present at the end of the familiarization, and they increased the forearm activity. The instrumental evaluation confirmed this. The elbow motion’s angular amplitude improved for all subjects, and other kinematic parameters showed a trend towards the normality range. Conclusion: The outcomes are preliminary evidence supporting the efficacy of the proposed BoMI as a rehabilitation tool to be considered for clinical practice. It also suggests an instrumental evaluation protocol and a set of indicators to assess and evaluate motor impairment and recovery in cSCI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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Review

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Review
Biosensors to Monitor Cell Activity in 3D Hydrogel-Based Tissue Models
Sensors 2022, 22(4), 1517; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22041517 - 15 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2624
Abstract
Three-dimensional (3D) culture models have gained relevant interest in tissue engineering and drug discovery owing to their suitability to reproduce in vitro some key aspects of human tissues and to provide predictive information for in vivo tests. In this context, the use of [...] Read more.
Three-dimensional (3D) culture models have gained relevant interest in tissue engineering and drug discovery owing to their suitability to reproduce in vitro some key aspects of human tissues and to provide predictive information for in vivo tests. In this context, the use of hydrogels as artificial extracellular matrices is of paramount relevance, since they allow closer recapitulation of (patho)physiological features of human tissues. However, most of the analyses aimed at characterizing these models are based on time-consuming and endpoint assays, which can provide only static and limited data on cellular behavior. On the other hand, biosensing systems could be adopted to measure on-line cellular activity, as currently performed in bi-dimensional, i.e., monolayer, cell culture systems; however, their translation and integration within 3D hydrogel-based systems is not straight forward, due to the geometry and materials properties of these advanced cell culturing approaches. Therefore, researchers have adopted different strategies, through the development of biochemical, electrochemical and optical sensors, but challenges still remain in employing these devices. In this review, after examining recent advances in adapting existing biosensors from traditional cell monolayers to polymeric 3D cells cultures, we will focus on novel designs and outcomes of a range of biosensors specifically developed to provide real-time analysis of hydrogel-based cultures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Sensors in Biomechanics, Health Disease and Rehabilitation)
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