One of the main sequelae of stroke is difficulty walking, which is characterised by decreased walking speed and asymmetrical walking patterns. Physical therapists often rely on explicit motor learning strategies, i.e., providing mainly verbal instructions for how movements should be performed. However, the voluntary movement induced by explicit instruction may lead to associated unintended muscle contractions or higher cognitive demand, which could be detrimental. We introduce a vibrotactile cueing device that implicitly improves walking speed. The stroke patient walks while alternating vibrational cues are given to the left and right sides of their waist. At each specified step, cueing frequency increases in the cueing group without the patient’s awareness. The four patients in the cueing group did not notice the increase in walking speed during training; however, we observed an improvement in walking speed and cadence in patients using the proposed cueing system, which was maintained during the posttest phase. Additionally, patients using the cueing system were able to suppress excessive compensatory movements during training compared with patients who did not use the system. This case series study indicates that the proposed system for gait rehabilitation of stroke patients can enable an increase in walking speed without excessive effort.
- gait training
- haptic device
- implicit motor learning cueing system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering