Rehabilitation Technology

Portfolio Lead: A/Prof. Duncan Babbage.

Objectives: This programme of research leverages AUT’s international reputation in rehabilitation research, applying mobile technologies to enhance rehabilitation service delivery from inpatient units to the community. We are building on a strong track record of peer reviewed publication and external funding in this area, bringing together staff from the Centre for eHealth, the Rehabilitation Innovation Centre, and staff with expertise in human performance, sport and exercise science, design and health informatics. The research is based on strong external partnerships.


Key Project 1: Inpatient rehabilitation goals portal.

PI: Duncan Babbage. AIs: Dave Parry, Stephen Reay, Nicola Kayes. Support team: Juliet Drown, Postdoctoral SRO. External collaborators: Jonathan Armstrong, Maegan VanSolkema—ABI Rehab. Will Levack—Otago.

Development and clinical deployment of a touchscreen tablet-based portal in an inpatient brain injury rehabilitation service, that provides clients and their family/whanau with 24/7 access to short video summaries of their rehabilitation goals recorded by their clinical team, and involving the client talking about their own goals as insight permits.


Key Project 2: Treatment of concussion by smartwatch-monitored graded exercise.

PI: Duncan Babbage. AIs: Patria Hume, Todd Stretton, Stephen Reay. Support team: Juliet Drown, Postdoctoral SRO. External collaborators: ABI Rehab. John Leddy, Barry Willer—Uni. at Buffalo.

Evaluating the treatment and prevention of post-concussion syndrome through a smartwatch app, which delivers an evidence-based guided-exercise programme designed to recalibrate autonomic nervous system regulation of blood pressure in the brain. Concussion symptom data are collected via the smartwatch app and vital signs are automatically monitored during treatment and throughout the day. The app thus both mediates the treatment and collects primary research data.


Investment and Funding

For the Inpatient Portal project, initial app prototyping, co-design and pilot work has been funded by a $50k MedTech CoRE grant and through previous SRIF investment. The next stage of this research is a more substantial small scale clinical trial, supporting in parallel commercialisation and an application for external funding.