Delivering Effective Physical Therapy Remotely via a Wearable Sleeve and Mobile Application; Implementing a New Communication Platform in Our Current Healthcare System

Hassert, Christopher, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Ferguson, Sean, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia

There are many issues in the physical therapy industry that can be improved with a new
system of care involving motion capture technology. These issues within physical therapy also
exist within the United States healthcare industry as a whole. These two theses analyze the
problems within physical therapy and healthcare as a whole, and provide potential solutions to
both of these respectively.
The technical thesis attempts to address current problems with physical therapy;
especially during a pandemic where at-home exercise programs are becoming more common. In
the current industry, patient non-compliance of their at-home treatments is significantly high. A
couple reasons for this could be patients do not feel engaged with their treatment and poor
communication between the patient and their therapist. The BravePT system that we developed
provides solutions to these problems by incorporating a wearable motion capture sleeve, mobile
phone application, and web portal into an integrated system. Patients are assigned exercises by
their therapist through the phone app, wear the sleeve while performing the exercises, and
therapists can access their patient data through the online web portal. The mobile application is
gamified, allowing patients to earn rewards and have more interactive exercises than
traditionally. By incorporating all of the elements of this system, it address the issues of poor
communication and patient apathy.
My STS thesis took the original problems and solutions to physical therapy and
broadened them to healthcare in general. I found that virtually all branches of medicine have
similar issues when it comes to communication and patient non-compliance of treatment. I
analyzed how the BravePT system could be implemented within our current healthcare system
and what challenges and changes would be required if the system were to be. I found that trying
to implement new systems into existing ones is a very difficult task, especially within the
healthcare industry.
Working on the technical portion of my capstone was a great experience. I really liked
the idea of the project, and I personally believe that we made a lot of progress in just one
semester. It was neat to have experience working in a structured environment; our team had an
office space that we used to work, have meetings, and discuss ideas. We all worked in the office
at similar times and it was great to have the ability to bounce ideas off each other and get help
when we were stuck on a bug. I would have liked more time to work on my STS thesis, but I
accomplished what I set out research.

BS (Bachelor of Science)

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Sean Ferguson
Technical Team Members: William Kodama, Hart Lukens, Evan Magnusson, Christopher Hassert

Issued Date: