Anglia Ruskin scientists to lead CERN event

PUBLISHED: 09:36 12 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:36 12 October 2016

ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus)

ATLAS (A Toroidal LHC Apparatus)

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They will attempt to revolutionise physiotherapy in 60 hours

Two Anglia Ruskin University scientists are leading an event to solve real-life humanitarian problems this weekend (14-16 October) at the Geneva headquarters of CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider.

Dr Genevieve Williams and Dr Domenico Vicinanza have been selected to lead one of the eight teams featuring some of the world’s brightest and most creative young minds as they attempt to develop a revolutionary way of using sound to help with rehabilitation and physiotherapy – in just 60 hours!

Dr Williams and Dr Vicinanza were selected after the organisers were impressed by their idea for combining sonification, which involves converting data into sound, with movement science and smart health sensors.

Dr Williams, co-director of the Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, said: “Movement is key to recovery from injuries, as well as helping with disabilities and supporting healthy ageing.

“However, the precise execution of exercises and physiotherapy is really important. This is fairly straightforward when under the watchful eye of a physiotherapist, but can be difficult when carrying out exercises alone at home.

“For the hackathon, we submitted a proposal called ‘Sonification & Gamification of Physiotherapy’ which focuses on the rehabilitation of the hand and arm, for example in stroke patients, by using audio feedback created through real-time sonification.

“We believe the audio feedback and computer gaming elements could provide motivation, as well as an accurate reference for patients to carry out physiotherapy exercises on their own. Assisted by a really first-rate team of engineers, computer scientists and innovation experts, hopefully we can make it happen this weekend!”

The event, The Port 2016, is being described as a “humanitarian hackathon”.

All participants will attempt to “build working prototypes and tangible solutions for real-life humanitarian problems”. It is organised by CERN in collaboration with the United Nations, the Red Cross and other NGOs.

Dr Vicinanza, Director of Anglia Ruskin’s Sound And Game Engineering (SAGE) Research Group and technical trainer at the European network GEANT, added: “Through sonification and innovative electronic sensors, the patient generates melodies and sounds in response to their movements.

“In addition, sharing data over networks would enable people to exercise together, which is particularly meaningful or powerful for ageing populations or people who are isolated because of physical problems or disabilities. Data sharing would also allow physiotherapists to monitor progress remotely, tailoring the program to the actual progress.

“We’re really proud to be representing Anglia Ruskin in Switzerland. We hope that by combining physiotherapy, movement science, technology and music, we can create something that makes a real difference to people’s lives.”

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