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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Discovery Day for active living, robotics and recovery

Published: 3 July 2015

Imagine applying the same technology used by the film industry to generate animated characters to analyse the hand, arm and leg movement of someone as part of rehabilitation after they’ve had a stroke. Or consider the application of ultrasound imaging to the management of low back pain.


These are just two of the cutting-edge research applications that were on display at the University of Southampton yesterday during a special ‘Discovery Day’, which attracted a variety visitors from the clinical professions, academia and the general public.

On Thursday 2 July the group held a special event demonstrating some of their latest ground-breaking research, which is helping hundreds of people not only across the south, but worldwide.

The event was hosted by the Rehabilitation and Health Technologies (RHT) Research Group which develops and evaluates how technology can be used to help people recover, often from debilitating conditions, as well as preventing some problems, such as damaging joints.

The Group runs clinical trials to evaluate the use of various technologies and assess how they can help people, recover from stroke, and live with conditions such as arthritis, back pain, bronchitis, asthma and dementia. An important part of the group’s work is to find effective ways to help people stay active in later life, whether they are healthy or have a medical condition.

Community occupational therapist and alumni student, Catherine, said: I’m really interested to see what has developed since I graduated a decade ago, and how current research is influencing practice. Predominantly my patients have physical disabilities, and this Discovery Day means I can keep up to date with current research and its link to clinical practice.”

Visitors to the Discovery Day interacted with current research projects and researchers whilst trying different devices for themselves. Projects on display included:

  • Ultrasound imaging of muscle used in managing low back pain
  • Movement analysis using the Vicon system – Hollywood-style motion capture to create a biomechanical analysis of a patient’s movement
  • LifeCIT – a web-based motivational support programme to support patients carrying out Constraint Induced Therapy (CIT) at home
  • Snoezelen room – a specially-designed multi-sensory experience using lighting effects, sound and vibration and tactile stimulation as a therapy to support people with learning disabilities, dementia, mental health problems and those in pain
  • Basic physiotherapy activities including joint examinations
  • Information on foot and ankle research
  • Demonstrations of breathing patterns
  • Wearable sensors for monitoring movement

Professor Jane Burridge, Head of RHT and Professor of Restorative Neuroscience, said: “The University of Southampton is home to some amazing research which is currently helping many people live active lives, recover from or manage debilitating conditions such as stoke, Parkinson’s or MS.

“We wanted to invite members of the public and our fellow health professionals to come and see what we have to offer, and to hear from people who may be interested in taking part in one of our trials.”

The event continues for Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th as part of the University’s Open Days for prospective students, and all are welcome.

The event is taking place in Building 45 on the University of Southampton’s Highfield Campus. Entrance is free, as are refreshments on the day.

The event is sponsored by D.M. Orthotics, provider of medical rehabilitation and sports performance products; MindMaze, developer of virtual reality products which stimulate neural recovery in the brain; and Irwin Mitchell, law firm who specialise in helping clients who have suffered personal injury.

More information about RHT can be found at


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