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System and Method for Automatic Speed Adaptation Control of a Treadmill

Posted Mar 03 2011 7:00pm

Description of Invention:
The invention offered for further commercial development relates to the coupling of virtual reality technology with a treadmill to implement goal-oriented walking practices effectively and to promote improved learning skills during gait training. The technology will be useful in rehabilitation of individuals with gait impairments resulting from Parkinson's disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, and Spinal Cord Injury. In order to allow patients practice (e.g., voluntary change of walking speed in a natural way), software has been developed that automatically updates the velocity of a treadmill following the intention of the person walking on the treadmill. The invention uses a swing foot velocity measurement to control the velocity of the treadmill which can quickly and precisely detect the user's intention of changing walking velocity. Swing foot velocity measurement allows users to voluntarily change walking velocity while they have a realistic feel of walking (such as over-ground walking). We are seeking a CRADA collaborator to expand implementation of the invention into a fully integrated system that can control treadmill velocity in real time and can be reliably adapted to typical commercial treadmills.

  • Rehabilitation of individuals with gait impairments as a complication of Parkinson's disease, traumatic brain injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, or spinal cord injury.
  • The technology can also be used for walking through architectural models, for educational purposes (student walk through historical sites or geological surfaces), military or law enforcement training, gaming, motor and sensory rehabilitation, and exercise and recreation.

Development Status:
Development partner with experience designing virtual reality environments is sought for a CRADA collaboration.

Hyung S Park (CC)
Jung W Yoon (Henry M. Jackson Foundation)

Patent Status:
HHS, Reference No. E-046-2011/0

One aspect of the overall invention currently exists in software form, for which the U.S. Government will not be seeking patent protection.

Relevant Publication:
  1. Lichtenstein L, Barabas J, Woods RL, Peli E. A feedback control interface for treadmill locomotion in virtual environments. ACM Trans Appl Percept. 2007 Jan;4(1):Article No. 7; doi 10.1145//1227134.1227141.
  2. Souman JL, Giordano PR, Frissen I, De Luca A, Ernst MO. Making virtual walking real: Perceptual evaluation of a new treadmill control algorithm. ACM Trans Appl Percept. 2010 Feb;7(2):Article No. 11; doi 10.1145//1670671.1670675.
  3. Christensen RR, Hollerbach JM, Xu Y, Meek SG. Inertial force feedback for the treadport locomotion interface. Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. 2000 Feb;9(1):1-14; doi:10.1162/105474600566574.
  4. von Zitzewitz J, Bernhardt M, Riener R. A novel method for automatic treadmill speed adaptation. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2007 Sep;15(3):401-409. [ PubMed: 17894272 ]
  5. Farnet MG. Treadmill having an automatic speed control system. U.S. Patent 5,368,532 issued November 29, 1994. [ View ]
  6. Potash RL, Jentges CJ, Burns SK, Potash RJ. Adaptive treadmill. U.S. Patent 5,314,391 issued May 24, 1994. [ View ]
  7. Minetti AE, Boldrini L, Brusamolin L, Zamparo P, McKee T. A feedback-controlled treadmill (treadmill-on-demand) and the spontaneous speed of walking and running in humans. J Appl Physiol. 2003 Aug;95(2):838-843. [ PubMed: 12692130 ]

Licensing Status:
Available for licensing.

Collaborative Research Opportunity:
The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize “A system and method for automatic speed adaptation control of a treadmill for patients.” Please contact Dr. Hyung S. Park at 301-451-7533 for more information.

Devices/Instrumentation - Software
Devices/Instrumentation - Environmental Technology
Devices/Instrumentation - Other

For Licensing Information Please Contact:
Michael Shmilovich Esq.
NIH Office of Technology Transfer
6011 Executive Blvd. Suite 325,
Rockville, MD 20852
United States
Phone: 301-435-5019
Fax: 301-402-0220

Ref No: 2230

Updated: 03/2011

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