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Telehealth-Mediated Physical Rehabilitation Systems and Methods

The use of telemedicine/telehealth increased substantially during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to its accelerated development, utilization and acceptability. Telehealth momentum with patients, providers, and other stakeholders will likely continue, which will further promote its safe and evidence-based use. Improved healthcare by telehealth has also extended to musculoskeletal care. In a recent study looking at implementation of telehealth physical therapy in response to COVID-19, almost 95% of participants felt satisfied with the outcome they received from the telehealth physical therapy (PT) services, and over 90% expressed willingness to attend another telehealth session. While telehealth has enhanced accessibility by virtual patient visits, certain physical rehabilitation largely depends on physical facility and tools for evaluation and therapy. For example, limb kinematics in PT with respect to the shoulder joint is difficult to evaluate remotely, because the structure of the shoulder allows for tri-planar movement that cannot be estimated by simple single plane joint models. With the emergence of gaming technologies, such as videogames and virtual reality (VR), comes new potential tools for virtual-based physical rehabilitation protocols. Some research has shown digital game environments, and associated peripherals like immersive VR (iVR) headsets, can provide a powerful medium and motivator for physical exercise. And while low-cost motion tracking systems exist to match user movement in the real world to that in the virtual environment, challenges remain in bridging traditional PT tooling and telehealth-friendly physical rehabilitation.

Universal Patient Monitoring

Sensor-based patient monitoring is a promising approach to assess risk, which can then be used by healthcare clinics to focus efforts on the highest-risk patients without having to spend the time manually assessing risk. For example, pressure ulcers/injuries are localized damage to the skin and/or underlying tissue that usually occur over a bony prominence and are most common to develop in individuals who have low-mobility, such as those who are bedridden or confined to a wheelchair and consequently are attributed to some combination of pressure, friction, shear force, temperature, humidity, and restriction of blood flow and are more prevalent in patients with chronic health problems. Sensor-based patient monitoring can be tuned to the individual based on the relative sensor readings. However, existing sensor-based monitoring techniques, such as pressure monitoring, are one-off solutions that are not supported by a comprehensive system which integrates sensing, data collection, storage, data analysis, and visualization. While traditional monitoring solutions are suitable for its intended purpose, these approaches require substantial re-programming as the suites of monitoring sensors change over time.

Spellcasters: Physical Therapy Re-Imagined

Almost 800,000 people suffer a stroke each year in the U.S. and approximately two-thirds survive and require rehabilitation. Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability. Between 2017 and 2018, stroke-related costs in the U.S. were about $53B. This total includes the cost of health care services, medicines to treat stroke, and missed days of work. According to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, research shows the most important element in any neurorehabilitation program is carefully directed, well-focused, repetitive practice, which is the same kind of practice used by all people when they learn a new skill, such as playing the piano or pitching a baseball. The emergence of gaming technologies, such as videogames and virtual reality (VR), opens the door to a variety of possibilities for neurorehabilitation activities.

(SD2022-122) Unsupervised channel compression method for low power neural prostheses

Brain machine interfaces (BMIs) have the potential to help individuals with functional impairments, such as loss of motor control, due to neurological disease or spinal cord injury. BMIs map brain signals acquired in relevant brain regions to patient intent to enable functional restoration. In previous studies, BMIs have enabled patients to control robotic arm movements, and type by translating brain signals directly into text.  Intracortical BMIs record and sample brain signals from relevant regions of the brain at rates high enough to process both local field potentials (LFP) and action potentials (spikes).The development of high performance brain machine interfaces (BMIs) requires scaling recording channel count to enable simultaneous recording from large populations of neurons. Unfortunately, proposed implantable neural interfaces have power requirements that scale linearly with channel count. 

Integrated Virtual Reality and Audiovisual Display Support System for Patients in a Prone Position

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an integrated virtual reality and audiovisual support system that increases the comfort of patients who are undergoing diagnostic tests or medical procedures in the prone and other positions.

Early Detection Of Diabetic And Decubitus Ulcers

Pressure ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers are a pervasive and expensive health care challenge. They are debilitating and can significantly impair quality of life, as they are associated with loss of pain sensation and disordered circulation. The gold standard to preventing pressure ulcers include regular patient  turning/repositioning. However, there are relatively few tools for molecular-level insight into when to reposition and who to reposition.


UCLA researchers have developed an incentive spirometry system that encourages and advises patients to perform incentive spirometry with minimal aid from healthcare professionals.

Manumeter for Monitoring and Assessing Upper Extremity Rehabilitation

After an injury or neurological event, a patient’s rehabilitation requires long-term assessment and monitoring, especially in the upper extremities that are important for everyday tasks.UCI researchers have developed the Manumeter to quantitatively assess and log a patient’s hand movements without external therapist intervention.

Effective Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) Taking in Account Real-Time Frequency and Phase Of Intrinsic Brain Activity

Current research and practice in the field of therapeutic rTMS is not taking into account 1) inter-individual variability 2) variability between brain areas 3) variability or differences between oscillations in distinct and overlapping frequency bands, 4) existence of high- and low-excitability phase periods in each oscillatory cycle. Clinical treatments with rTMS and experimental research findings show mixed effects, with rTMS protocols inducing variable degrees of brain plasticity over subjects and sessions.

Apparatus and Methods for Stimulating DNA Repair Using Red Light Therapy

Red light exposure can have phototherapeutic effects on skin cells and other biological cells and tissues affected by UV damage. However, existing methods and devices using red light in DNA phototherapy have not identified the proper duration, intensity, or delivery mechanisms for optimal DNA repair. If the radiant intensity of the red light is too low, then exposure is inadequate and the repair biomarkers are not activated. Conversely, prolonged exposure to excessive electromagnetic radiation only furthers DNA damage. Moreover, in the context of skin treatment, excessive radiant intensity can burn tissue or have carcinogenic side effects. Thus, there is a need for a device and methods of use that provide safe, effective, and targeted red light DNA phototherapy.

A New Approach To Treat/Manage Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Researchers at UCI have developed a safe, inexpensive drug for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases.

New Method for Generation of Human Pacemaker Cardiomyocytes

The heart consists of a multitude of diverse cardiomyocyte cell types, including atrial, ventricular and pacemaker cells, which cooperate to ensure proper cardiac function and circulation throughout the body. The rhythm of the heart beat is regulated by the sinoatrial node (SAN), functionally known as the cardiac pacemaker. Loss or dysfunction of these pacemaker cardiomyocytes leads to severe cardiac arrhythmias, syncope and/or even death. Although artificial pacemakers exist to help overcome these issues, several serious limitations and problems have emerged with this approach over the past several decades including electrode fracture or damage to insulation, infection, re-operations for battery exchange, and venous thrombosis. Moreover, size mismatch and the fact that pacemaker leads do not grow with children are a concerning problem. Thus, replacing artificial pacemakers with biological pacemakers potentially overcomes these artificial pacemaker issues including the expense and complications associated with device replacement, device or lead failure, and infection. To achieve these goals, understanding how pacemaker cardiomyocytes are generated is necessary to develop a human biological pacemaker for cardiac cellular therapies.

Immersive Virtual Reality To Manage Pain

Researchers led by Mark Cohen from the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA have developed a virtual reality-based therapy to manage chronic pain.

Pain Assessment Method and Apparatus for Patients Unable to Self Report Pain

Though pain assessment is a crucial part of many medical treatment plans, most physicians rely on patients self-reporting their own pain levels. This self-reporting strategy may be convenient to some patients trying to determine whether the patient should get to a doctor, but in some situations, especially where a patient is non-communicative or incapacitated, these patients may be unable to clearly express themselves to a medical professional. As such, researchers at UCI have developed a novel device that automatically and objectively monitors a patient’s pain levels by tracking/monitoring subconscious facial movements in real-time.

Bioinspired Hydrogels for the Treatment of Volumetric Muscle Loss Injury

Injuries that involve a degree of muscle tissue loss that exceeds the endogenous regenerative capacity of muscle, resulting in permanent cosmetic and functional deficits of either the injured muscle or the muscle unit, are referred to as volumetric muscle loss (VML) injuries. Current treatment for VML injury involves surgical muscle transfer, although these procedures are often associated with poor engraftment and donor site morbidity.    UC Berkeley and U.Va researchers have developed a new technology for the treatment of VML injuries that overcomes the limitations associated with current treatments for VML injury.  The Matrix Assisted Cell Transplantation (MACT) technology developed by the researchers employs “bioinspired” materials designed to emulate regulatory processes that modulate cell function in the stem/progenitor cell microenvironment.  The technology includes: 1) peptide ligands to imitate the natural extracellular matrix (ECM); 2) proteolytic remodeling via matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) sensitive peptide crosslinks; and, 3) growth factors with engineered density and presentation.    The technology and the materials used have been shown to significantly improve donor survival after transplantation, promote angiogenesis, and encourage donor cell integration with the host tissue.

In vivo optical biopsy applicator of the vaginal wall for treatment planning, monitoring, and imaging guided therapy

Pelvic floor disorders (PFDs) afflict nearly 25% of all women and carry a host of symptoms that can drastically reduce quality of life. Despite their prevalence, the complex and varied nature of such PFDs make them difficult to diagnose and treat. Researchers at UCI have developed an entirely integrated system that, for the first time, provides real-time monitoring of the vaginal wall tissue during diagnosis and treatment, allowing for more thorough diagnoses and more effective treatment methods.

An Implantable Electrocorticogram (ECoG)-Brain-Computer Interface System for Restoring Lower Extremity Movement and Sensation

A fully implantable brain-computer interface (BCI) with onboard processing to control a robotic gait exoskeleton as a walking aid for individuals with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). This technology would alleviate SCI patient’s dependence on wheel chairs, reducing the risk of secondary medical complications that account for an estimated $50 billion/year in healthcare costs.

Scar Minimization Treatment: Fibrotic to Fat Cell Conversion

Clinical treatment for scar-less wound healing remains a highly desired, yet unmet need. UCI researchers have developed a method to minimize scarring during wound healing through cellular reprograming that encourages formation of new skin fat cells. This novel therapy is non-surgical and applicable to multiple types of scars and aging skin.


This invention is a novel technology developed to treat a patient’s neurological and/or psychiatric conditions. It consists of a system of implantable devices and computational algorithms that not only has autonomous control in sensing and stimulation of electrical signals in the patient’s brain, but also enables interactions with the external environment, thereby enhancing training and learning.

Half-Virtual-Half-Physical Microactuator

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a half-virtual-half-physical microactuator that utilizes a combination of computational models and microelectromechanical systems for use in medical devices and mechanical systems.

Regulation Of Autonomic Control Of Bladder Voiding After A Complete Spinal Cord Injury

UCLA researchers have developed a novel spinal cord stimulator used to restore partial mobility, bladder, and bowel functions in Spinal Cord Injured patients.

Design And Fabrication Of Multi-Electrode Array For Spinal Cord Epidural Stimulation

UCLA researchers in the Department of Bioengineering have developed a novel multichannel electrode array to restore locomotion in paralyzed or physically impaired patients.

Torque Balancing Active Wrist Brace

The invention is an orthopedic brace to aid in the rehabilitation of hand movements in stroke survivors. This spring-actuated brace provides the necessary hand-forearm support and counterbalances wrist stiffness/resistance to stretch typical to stroke patients. This device significantly reduces the effort required for a hand movement in patients with varying degrees of motion impairment.

Wireless Implantable System To Restore Memory

UCLA researchers have developed a wireless implantable deep brain stimulation system to restore memory in individuals with traumatic brain injury.

Wireless Wearable Big Data Brain Machine Interface (W2b2/Wwbb)

UCLA researchers have developed a wireless wearable big data brain machine interface. This technology provides a user-friendly brain machine interface system that can monitor/record a large amount of brain activities and transfer, wirelessly, the processed/raw data to a remote mobile unit.

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