The aim of MMARK was to provide a team of physiotherapy researchers in Southampton University with an integrated system capable of reliably recording upper-limb motion and associated muscle activity.
The primary responsibilty of Imperial College's Biomechatronics lab was to provide with the sensing technology, and process the data into useable forms. Each unit was composed of a chip containing inertial sensors (3-axis: Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magentometer) which were integrated into a unit Quaternion to represent the unit's rotation. The muscular activity was recorded using MMG (musculomechanograph) sensors. Both of these technologies have been a core focus of the Biomechatronics lab and are used in a plethora of biomedical projects:
The MMARK system was designed around stroke recoverers, and aimed to increase the amount and quality of rehabilitation exercise undertook by their user.
It did so by allowing physiotherapists to select from a list of pre-programmed stroke rehabilitation exercises designed by the team of experts at Southampton University. This selection was then available to the user on their MMARK application, which they would access through a tablet computer. The user would then wear the MMARK suit and perform the recommanded exercises to the best of their ability on their own. The system would capture their motion and muscular activity through the aformentioned sensors, and store this data for later analysis. Users could visualise their performance through a simple humanoid avatar which would play back their motion.
This motion and muscular activity data would be automatically processed by a set of custom algorithms that would condense the information into single-number metrics covering various points of interest (such as time taken to perform a task, distance covered by the hand, elbow extension or how much the user's trunk moved to compensate for their arm motion). The user could track their daily progress through the simplest of these metrics derived from their most recent exercise data.
MMARK's first prototype achieved CE marking, a certification indicating that a product comforms with european health, safety and environemental standards. This certification has enabled MMARK to be clincally trialled around Southampton in partner health centres, allowing health professionals and patients to inform the development cycle.
Southampton University's involvement was paramount to the development of MMARK, their analysis can be read in the following article: