Addressing Arm Non-Use During Early Recovery from Stroke

Related Experiments | Key Publications | Future Investigations | Noteworthy EquipmentCollaborators | Research Support

Stroke survivors often suffer from a loss of mobility or sensation on one side of their body. This results in survivors suppressing the use of their affected side, creating a debilitating cycle of favoring their good side while the injured side’s condition progressively worsens. Our interventions aim to break this cycle of “non-use” by using wearable devices to deliver haptic reminders to exercise their upper limbs. Wearable technology has the potential to deliver personalized rehabilitation solutions for patients both in the clinic and at home.


Related Experiments


At-Home Personalized Exercise System to Address Learned Non-Use 

The NMCL is using wearable technology to monitor stroke survivor’s upper limb activity throughout their day. The wearable exercise system also cues participants to perform specified upper limb exercises. The system uses a custom smartphone application that allows for independent setup at-home by the participant and remote data monitoring by the researchers. This allows for analysis of activity levels throughout the day for each limb of the participant during their activities of daily living and during cued exercise periods. We are investigating the usability and utility of such a system to guide future developments and research projects.


Key Publications


Pomplun, Ella. “Fashion-Forward Wearable Devices Addressing Post-Stroke Neglect—A Pilot Study of System Tolerance.” Poster presented at: American Physical Therapy Association Meeting, February 4, 2021.

Stochino, Alessio. “A smartphone application designed to guide exercises for improving limb awareness after stroke.” Master’s Thesis, Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University & University of Genoa (2020).

Bucci, Francesca. “User-centered design of a ubiquitous cueing wearable device to improve limb awareness after stroke.” Master’s Thesis, Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University & University of Genoa (2017).


Future Investigations


We aim to examine both short-term (inpatient clinic) and long-term (at home) recovery stages of stroke survivors with the wearable exercise system to understand the role of cued exercises in negating the effects of learned non-use.


Noteworthy Equipment

  • MetaMotionR wearable devices
  • Android smartphones and applications





Not Pictured   

Erin Corrigan

Ella Pomplun

Meghann Sytsma


Research Support

This work has been supported by a gift to the LaVerne L. Schwacher Endowed Fund for Stroke Research of the Stroke Rehabilitation Center (SRC) of Southeastern Wisconsin.



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