Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2020.



First Advisor

Emre Araci


Physical rehabilitation is a critical component of injury recovery. Traditionally, physical therapists use visual observation methods to assess patient progress throughout the recovery process. If a patient injures their shoulder, for example, a physical therapist might assess their recovery after a month of physical therapy by comparing their current range of shoulder motion to that immediately after the injury occurred. While these methods provide some insight, they also often lack accuracy and precision, decreasing the physician’s ability to determine the true progress achieved by the patient. Currently, a professional may be able to roughly estimate the flexion angle of the elbow, or the range of rotation of the shoulder, but such an ability requires years of training and experience. The objective of this research is to design a wearable optical strain sensor to track the physical movements of the upper extremities. Our goal is to design a sensor that can accurately monitor slight movements while also being immune to electromagnetic interference, so it is compatible for use in MRI machines. We intend for the device to be capable of determining both the direction and magnitude of a movement. Our optical PDMS sensor will provide wavelength-multiplexed spatial data with a single input and output, hence enabling simpler human-wearable device interfacing. This would ultimately provide more precise information to physicians and physical therapists as well as the ability for patients to accurately track and monitor their recovery process from home.

SCU Access Only

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