EMG-Interfaced Device for the Detection and Alleviation of Freezing of Gait in Individuals with Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder in the central nervous system that affects a host of daily activities and involves a variety of symptoms; these include tremors, slurred speech, and rigid muscles. It is the second most common movement disorder globally. In Stage 3 of Parkinson's, afflicted individuals begin to develop an abnormal gait pattern known as freezing of gait (FoG), which is characterized by decreased step length, shuffling, and eventually complete loss of movement; they are unable to move, and often results in a fall. Surface electromyography (sEMG) is a diagnostic tool to measure electrical activity in the muscles to assess overall muscle function. Most conventional EMG systems, however, are bulky, tethered to a single location, expensive, and primarily used in a lab or clinical setting. This project explores an affordable, open-source, and portable platform called Open Brain-Computer Interface (OpenBCI). The purpose of the proposed device is to detect gait patterns by leveraging the surface electromyography (EMG) signals from the OpenBCI and to help a patient overcome an episode using haptic feedback mechanisms. Previously designed devices with similar intended purposes utilize accelerometry as a method of detection as well as audio and visual feedback mechanisms in their design.