Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2017.



First Advisor

Emre Araci


Millions of individuals each year suffer from hand function impairment because of strokes and hand injuries. If these injuries are left untreated, permanent disability can result. Therefore, rehabilitation is necessary to improve and restore the function of the hand. However, this requires prolonged and repeated visits with a physician and physical therapist. Additionally, clinically significant milestones in these treatment programs, such as a 10° improvement in joint range of motion, often do not necessarily translate to improved quality of life for patients who can no longer perform every day activities due to their impairments. Thus, we propose a low cost, easy to use strain-sensing device that uses a fun and interactive interface to help patients visualize and monitor the progress they make in their physical therapy programs. This device is designed and fabricated using microfluidic principles to detect small changes in strain caused by changes in joint range of motion without the use of complex electronic components, making it a sensitive, easy to use method of monitoring patient progress in rehabilitation programs. We were able to successfully create a device that detects small changes in strain caused by a bending joint. By using a simple smart-phone based characterization method we were able to prove that changes in strain induced by a bent joint are measurable by the device.

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