Researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine have developed a wearable device called KnitDema to treat hand edema remotely. The knitted wearable technology massages problematic areas using robotic actuators that provide sequential compression to reduce swelling. Patients can configure the device with a trained therapist during an initial visit and make adjustments as necessary. Wearable technology has become increasingly popular in healthcare, with researchers exploring new ways to assist patients in managing their health.
Weill Cornell Medicine researchers have developed a wearable device known as KnitDema to assist hand edema patients in treating their symptoms remotely. The disease known as “hand edema,” which is frequently brought on by an injury or sickness, causes swelling in the hand as a result of the accumulation of too much fluid. The typical treatment for this condition is a manual edema massage (MEM) performed by a trained therapist, which can be costly and challenging to access for some individuals.
The study team created KnitDema to address these issues and offer a remote solution under the direction of Cindy (Hsin-Liu) Kao, Ph.D., assistant professor of human-centered design and director of the Hybrid Body Lab. This device consists of a knitted wearable technology that uses robotic actuators to provide sequential compression to problematic areas, aiding in the reduction of swelling. The device is placed over a single finger and contains shaped metal alloy (SMA) springs within the knitted material.
The inspiration for KnitDema was derived from a previous wearable device developed in Kao’s lab, known as KnitDermis. This device provided users with tactile feedback and helped inform the development of KnitDema. The research team worked with physicians and therapists from the Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) Department of Physical Therapy to develop and test KnitDema.
The device is designed to be used in conjunction with an initial visit to a rehab doctor or occupational or physical therapist. During this visit, the appropriate amount of compression can be configured for daily use, and adjustments can be made as necessary. Kao notes that the ultimate goal of KnitDema is to provide a personalized, at-home massage device for individuals with hand edema, allowing them to manage their symptoms more easily and effectively.
Wearable technology has become increasingly popular in healthcare, with researchers exploring new ways to use these devices to assist patients in managing their health. For example, in August 2022, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a wireless skin sensor to collect data such as glucose concentrations, blood pressure, heart rate, and activity. This sensor can be used to track various health indicators, and the data collected can be recorded on a smartphone for further analysis.
Similarly, researchers from the University of Michigan have explored the use of smartwatches in tracking COVID-19 symptoms. Using data from Fitbits worn by medical interns and students who tested positive for COVID-19, the researchers found that heart rate activity was highly indicative of disease progression. This information could be used to develop new strategies for managing COVID-19 and other illnesses.