AIT researcher using augmented reality to ‘cure’ walking abnormalities

16 Apr 2020

AI researcher Thiago Braga Rodrigues. Image: AIT

Augmented reality is being used by one researcher to help treat walking abnormalities by showing people how to correct their stance.

Thiago Braga Rodrigues, PhD candidate at the Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), has published a paper to PLOS One documenting how augmented reality (AR) could bring enormous benefits to those with walking abnormalities.

If left untreated, such abnormalities could result in someone developing arthritis or serious injuries through everyday wear and tear. But the paper suggested that AR smart glasses could show how a person is walking and where the greatest stresses are being placed on their gait, and give them a visual guide of how to improve it.

“Traditionally, patients rely solely on guided feedback, which is given in a clinical setting and requires the presence of an expert to inform the rehabilitation or re-training. It also necessitates a patient travel many times to and from a clinic,” said Braga Rodrigues.

“The potential of AR as a portable, wearable and visual piece of technology is under-researched and certainly worth investigating further. It has a wide range of applications and is capable of augmenting human performance in a variety of ways.”

Accessible to other researchers

Braga Rodrigues, a Brazilian biomedical engineer, is currently in the final write-up phase of his research and, according to his supervisor Dr Niall Murray, getting a paper published is a “significant milestone”.

“Having a paper accepted to a multidisciplinary journal like PLOS One with its impact factor and H5 index is a great achievement,” Murray said.

“The fact that PLOS One is an open-access journal also means that his research will be easily accessible to the research community and general public.”

Other research involving AR headsets has been developed in Ireland over the past few years. One project saw researchers from University College Dublin and the SFI centre Lero reveal a prototype device that could make communication between deaf and non-deaf people a lot faster, based on Microsoft’s HoloLens headset.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic