Clinical Engineering

BME’s clinical engineers design technologies, devices and strategies for people with chronic disease, traumatic injury, disabilities and mobility limitations to help them integrate more fully with their environment.

Check out the case studies below to learn about the exciting research done here at BME:

Neural Rehabilitation

Tom Chau with Students in his lab testing neural sensory device
Accessing the right to communication for children and youth with complex disabilities

Professor Tom Chau helps young people with complex disabilities connect with the world around them.

As a senior scientist and vice-president of research at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Chau leads the Paediatric Rehabilitation Intelligent Systems Multidisciplinary (PRISM) Lab to develop sensing, signal processing and machine-learning methods that enable children and youth with various disabilities to communicate and interact with their environment.

One of his recent foci is to use a non-invasive technique known as near-infrared spectroscopy — to decode brain patterns in young people with severe neurological disability. The signals can then be articulated through various access technologies to enable communication between the patient and their caregivers.

Prosthetics

Jan Andrysek with patient testing out a prosthetic leg
Enabling mobility for those with physical disabilities

A typical artificial limb costs several thousands of dollars. Professor Jan Andrysek’s All-Terrain Knee (AT-Knee), developed at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, is high-functioning, durable, and costs a fraction of that price.

As a clinical engineer and scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Andrysek leads the Paediatrics, Rehabilitation, Orthotics, Prosthetics, Engineering and Locomotion (PROPEL) Lab. Its study of human biomechanics allows them to develop and innovate affordable treatments and assistive technologies that enable mobility for individuals with severe physical disabilities.

Today, his spinoff company, LegWorks, is producing the AT-Knee to help amputees around the world regain their mobility and independence.

Interactive Technology

students at a conference
Video games: a new therapeutic frontier

As a clinical engineer and scientist at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Professor Elaine Biddiss leads the Possibility Engineering and Research Lab (PEARL) to develop interactive technologies that assist young people with disabilities to accomplish rehabilitation goals.

One area of PEARL’s research focus is virtual reality therapy — an interactive, low-cost series of video games that impose virtual constraints to encourage therapeutic movements and can be customized to an individual’s rehabilitation needs. This particular innovation, along with several other developments from her lab, engages children with disabilities and mobility challenges to complete repetitive therapy tasks and foster social interactions through multiplayer options.

Read more news about clinical engineering

Facilitating pediatric rehabilitation through interactive technologies

January 6, 2023 | Can gamifying the rehabilitation experience lead to better outcomes for kids and their families? This is the question Dr. Elaine Biddiss is trying to address at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Grip-enhancing agents quantitatively improve sliding friction between a fingertip and a baseball

December 15, 2022 | A study conducted by Tohoku University in collaboration with the University of Toronto and NTT Communication Science Laboratories has shown that applying substances to fingertips can considerably change the handling of a baseball. This finding, published in Communications Materials, could alter how these substances will be used in competitive baseball leagues.

Dr. Elaine Biddiss named Bloorview Childrens Hospital Foundation Chair in Pediatric Rehabilitation

November 22, 2022 | Elaine Biddiss, a senior scientist at BRI and faculty member at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, creates new pathways to improve kids’ wellness through play using affordable, accessible technologies

KITE trainee earns multiple awards for asthma and obstructive sleep apnea research

November 9, 2022 | Shaghayegh Chavoshian, a PhD student in BME, will receive $20,000 in combined funding to support her research at KITE.

The Quintessential Game Changer

October 26, 2022 | Dr. Geoff Fernie’s legacy is one that’s related to the positive outcomes people experience in their lives: helping people live their lives to the fullest following life-altering disease or illness.

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