Networked Sensing and Control Lab

The Networked and Sensing Control (NSC) lab conducts research within wireless networking, Internet of Things (IoT) and system theoretic solutions aimed at biomedical applications in real-world settings.

Part of the Advanced Design and Engineering research group in Deakin’s School of Engineering, our highly focused and integrated group of researchers collaborate with major industry and government research partners, addressing a real need in rehabilitation and assistive devices.


Major research areas

NSC focuses primarily on rehabilitation and assistive device design for biomedical applications. Our research areas include:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • system theoretic solutions to bio-mechanic motion capture
  • integrated and embedded system design
  • robust estimation
  • human motion capture, filtering and analytics.

Research projects

Artimen: Phalangeal rehabilitation – ROM measurement system

An accurate and standardised tool to measure the active range of motion (ROM) of the hand is essential to any progressive assessment scenario in phalangeal rehabilitation. Goniometers are widely used in clinical settings for measuring the ROM of the hand. However, such measurements involve direct physical contact with the hand and have limitations with regard to inter-rater and intra-rater reliability. 

The system in this research is the first non-contact measurement system utilising Intel Perceptual Technology and a Senz3D camera for measuring phalangeal joint angles. Development of the system provides a consistent and time-efficient measurement tool for clinicians. The measurement system is implemented with a cloud computing concept to provide tele-assessment for patients in remote areas in order to reduce the number of visits to clinics and hospitals.

Project team

  • Associate Professor Pubudu Pathirana (Project Lead)
  • Professor Karen Stagnetti
  • Dr Pearse Fay
  • Associate Professor Hugh Drinh
  • Hai Trieu Pham (PhD)

Sponsor
Data 61

BioKin

Monitoring the progress of patients is an important aspect of rehabilitation medicine. Different approaches are being used to monitor the progress over time, including video capture, direct measurement of the affected range of motion and maintaining patient exercise logs, all of which require extra effort from both patients and therapists. 

BioKin is an attempt to implement human motion capture and analysis into an affordable system in clinical practice. Typical kinematic analysis systems used currently are expensive laboratories and only a handful of such labs exist in Melbourne. 

With the BioKin project, we are introducing a complementary motion capture system, which is truly portable and can be used in many scenarios; clinicians can use this at private clinics, patient homes or even in field trials. Indeed the ambulatory features of the system supports data communication through a mobile phone app such that patient’s bio kinematic motion can be captured and transmitted via a cloud implementation.

Project team

  • Associate Professor Pubudu Pathirana (Project Lead)
  • Dr Samitha Ekanayake
  • Sajeewani Karunarathna
  • Dr Mike Forrester (Collaborator)

EEG-based Wheel Chair Controller

The improvement of daily life of patients suffering from quadriplegia by enhancing independence through assistive technologies has been proven to improve mental health and social outcomes for such patients and their families. 

One vital aspects of daily life is mobility and interaction. For a quadriplegic, this can be achieved independently with a wheelchair using an EEG sensor to facilitate wheelchair movement, such as turning and going forwards and backwards in a safe manner using proximity sensors to avoid collisions. 

Further, the EEG signals can be used to facilitate communications via a user interface and a voice-based output. In this project we simultaneously develop these aspects as an integrated system to facilitate these key outcomes.

Project team

  • Associate Professor Pubudu Pathirana (Project Lead)
  • Gareth Williams
  • Sai Kadmoori
  • Varun Guttula
  • Larissa Andriske (Collaborator, Barwon Health)

Kinect-based Tele-Rehabilitation System

The development of tele-rehabilitation technologies enables patients suffering from movement disorders and healthy elderly people to practise rehabilitation exercises remotely to recover or maintain the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL), which requires an automatic approach to quantitatively measure and assess the ability of performing activities of daily living. In this project, we intend to quantitatively evaluate the ability of individuals to perform daily activities by using an affordable and non-invasive Microsoft Kinect to monitor individual motions.

Compared to other motion capturing devices, such as the VICON system, Kinect is affordable for the majority of people. Therefore, it can be utilised at home to monitor daily activities in a more natural environment compared to clinics, giving a more reliable and affordable evaluation tool. In addition, since it is a marker-less optical device, individuals being monitored by a Kinect do not need to wear or have markers put on them, which enables them to perform daily activities without any extra burden and interference.

Eventually, a score will be computed based on the data captured with the Kinect to generally reflect the ability of the subject to perform daily living activities individually.

Project team

  • Associate Professor Pubudu Pathirana (Project Lead)
  • Professor Mary Galea
  • Professor Fary Khan
  • Larissa Andriski
  • Saiyi Li (PhD)
  • Professor Richard Page (Collaborator)
  • Sponsor
    Data 61

Respiration Detection and Doppler Radar based motion capture

Respiration monitoring is crucial in the diagnosis of conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease and a number of sleep-related conditions. The importance of abnormal respiratory rates plays an important role as a key predictor for certain critical conditions as reported in the medical literature. Furthermore, different dysfunctional breathing patterns have also been associated with certain psychosomatic conditions, which at present purely rely on the measured respiration rate alone. Nevertheless, the detailed analysis of the respiratory function and patterns will provide physicians with more insights, which could be particularly useful in refining diagnostic medicine for respiratory disorders if it can be performed accurately with non-contact sensing.

Thus, a non-contact sensing mechanism that accurately captures respiratory function and identifies these under various breathing conditions is destined to open up new clinical practices relevant to respiratory physiology. An appropriate analysis and processing on the acquired signals will further improve the means of this application. Thus, it is crucial to consider different environment factors that will affect the accuracy of the sensing mechanism i.e. motion artefacts and the presence of multiple people. Identifying these types of artefacts involved apart from the respiration could be beneficial to sleep researchers.

Project team

  • Associate Professor Pubudu Pathirana (Project Lead)
  • Dr Chris Steinfort
  • Yee Siong, Lee

Collaborators

  • Melbourne University
  • Woolcock Institute Sydney – Medical research

Sponsor
Data 61

Wearable technology

Portable human monitoring systems for activity and performance tracking within sports, rehabilitation and clinical applications

Project team

  • Associate Professor Pubudu Pathirana (Project Lead)
  • Dr Clara Usma
  • Professor Ian Gibson
  • Dr Samitha Ekanayake

Our team

Researchers

Name
Director, Engineering, CPHR academic
Associate Professor Pubudu N. Pathirana
Engineering, Academic
Associate Professor Hieu Trinh
Engineering, Academic
Professor Ian Gibson    
Engineering, Academic
Dr Ben Horan       
CPHR, Academic
Professor Susan Beladin
CPHR, Academic
Professor Karen Stagnetti
Occupational Therapy
Dr Pearse Fay            
Orthopaedic surgery, Medical School, Barwon Health
Professor Richard Page     
Engineering, Technical
Damien Elderfield  
Barwon Health
Larissa Andriski

Contact us

NSC Lab Coordinator
Associate Professor Pubudu Pathirana
Email A/Prof Pathirana 
+61 3 5227 2914