Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nursing, engineering professors developing device to get seniors moving

Date:
March 7, 2011
Source:
University of Rhode Island
Summary:
A team of researchers has invented a device to help get older adults moving to reduce health complications from sedentary living.

From left to right: Ying Sun, director of URI’s biomedical engineering program, Kyle Rafferty, URI biomedical engineering student, and Patricia Burbank, nursing professor, test the Activity Analyzer in the beginning stages.
Credit: Michael Salerno Photography

For those of us living the frenetic modern lifestyle, sitting in one place for a long period might seem like a vacation. But for those who are retired, it can lead to health complications.

Patricia Burbank, professor of nursing at the University of Rhode Island, realized that there is a need to get older adults moving.

The actual idea was inspired by Burbank's own aunt, a 97-year-old woman living on her own.

"She loves hearing from her family and personal messages really resonate with her. How much better would it be to develop a device that could send a loving message and a suggestion to exercise?" said Burbank who is concerned about her aunt's decreased activity levels.

She brought the idea to Dayle Joseph, dean of URI's College of Nursing, who suggested Burbank get in touch with Ying Sun, director of URI's biomedical engineering program. Sun and Kyle Rafferty, a senior from Amherst, N.H., who is double majoring in biomedical engineering and electrical engineering, have been working to transform Burbank's ideas into a tangible product. In November, the device was patented through URI's Office of Research and Development.

Working with Sun during the summer in the initial stages of the project, Rafferty is now involved as part of an independent study. Using a breadboard, a construction base for electrical circuits, Rafferty has been responsible for getting the components of what is being called, the Activity Analyzer fully functional.

"It is a unique product because instead of counting steps like a pedometer or measuring distance walked, it uses an accelerometer, a three-axis motion detector, to analyze activity in three dimensions. It also has a recording device and a clock so you can record messages to go off at a particular time or messages to go off after periods of inactivity," Burbank said.

"I have been working to enable the processor to regulate time and the audio playback as well as program several messages to go off during different times during the day," Rafferty said. "It is my goal to have a working prototype, or close to it, by May."

Rather than a long guided workout, the audio messages would be intended for short prompts and reminders. Messages would be customized for each user's mobility issue and lifestyles. The messages would be recorded by loved ones or primary care physicians.

At the end of each day, the device scores the individuals based on their activity levels, which can be tracked using a computer.

Although the main application of the device is to increase activity levels in older adults, it also has numerous other helpful functions. Alicia Curtin, URI associate nursing professor, is working to use the device to help individuals with mild to moderate dementia.

"Family members or care providers can record step-by-step instructions to prepare meals and other daily activities," said Burbank of North Kingstown. "This would increase independence and allow individuals to live on their own when they otherwise couldn't."

Other important uses for the device would be to remind individuals to take medication and for people of all ages to increase their daily levels of low-impact activity, especially those in sedentary work place such as offices.

"The device will also help with fall prevention by working on balance and quadriceps strengthening exercises," said Burbank. "Simple exercises, such as leg lifts and standing on one leg with support as needed, can help reduce the risk of falling."

Burbank and Sun are currently reworking a proposal to be submitted for grant funding that would allow the team to construct six Activity Analyzers and conduct a research study. The study would involve testing the device with a sample of 18 older adults to measure activity levels and collect feedback in order to improve the product.

Overall, the devices will help to improve the lifestyles of older adults.

"Sedentary older adults, as a group, benefit the most from even the smallest amount of exercise. When you are stationary, your blood doesn't circulate as well, your lungs don't work as well and it has an impact on your mental health. Exercise has cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, neurological and skeletal muscular system benefits among many others," said Burbank. "By getting individuals moving just a little, they will hopefully move toward a more structured, regular exercise routine."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Rhode Island. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Rhode Island. "Nursing, engineering professors developing device to get seniors moving." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110307124814.htm>.
University of Rhode Island. (2011, March 7). Nursing, engineering professors developing device to get seniors moving. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110307124814.htm
University of Rhode Island. "Nursing, engineering professors developing device to get seniors moving." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110307124814.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins