Wearable Technology for Arm Monitoring in Health


Project overview

Stroke is the leading cause of disability worldwide, with one of the most common resulting disabilities being paralysis of the arm and the hand. Over 427,000 Australians live with the effects of stroke, and 65% of those Australians live with a disability that affects their ability to independently carry out activities of daily living like eating, putting on clothes, or washing themselves.

While therapists can work effectively with patients, they have limited insights into their patients’ arm use in daily life. Adherence to rehabilitation exercises to strengthen the affected arm as well as incidental uses of the arm for activities of daily living are critical for a quick and complete recovery of the injured arm. However, therapists currently lack reliable knowledge about their patients’ adherence to rehabilitation exercises as well as other uses of the affected arm in daily life.

This project will investigate the potential use of natural user interfaces (NUIs) to support stroke patients and their clinicians in the arm rehabilitation process. The project team are designing a low cost wearable technology called ‘ArmSleeve’ to monitor how patients use their affected arm in daily life. The technology will be deployed to patients and therapists to study how the information collected can support therapists in assessing patients and in working with patients on interventions to develop motor skills and to train every day activities, such as putting on clothes.

An important concern from the patient’s perspective is to understand how technology like the ArmSleeve device that is worn over extended periods of time will affect the social identity and lived experience of patients. This is particularly important during an already stressful period in the aftermath of a stroke.

The project brings together computer scientists, engineers and medical experts to design and evaluate a system to support therapists in their interactions with stroke patients.

The outcomes of this research project hold significant benefits for the provision of health services for Victorian citizens. The ArmSleeve system will provides insights into how much and how well patients use their affected arm after they leave hospital, and how this affects their recovery.

From the perspective of the professional communities of physiotherapists and occupational therapists, ArmSleeve will provide opportunities for new ways of practicing therapy via previously unavailable data. In the future, systems like ArmSleeve will increasingly allow assessment over a distance, potentially in real-time, and in a proactive manner.


This project is a collaboration between the Microsoft Research Centre for Social Natural User Interfaces (SocialNUI) in the School of Computing and Information Systems, the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Electrical and Electronic Engineering and University of Melbourne Department of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Project team

  • Justin Fong, , SocialNUI Researcher & PhD Candidate, Dept of Mechanical Engineering, University of Melbourne
  • Frank Vetere
    Frank Vetere, Professor & Director, Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI, University of Melbourne
  • Thuong Hoang
    Thuong Hoang, Lecturer, School of Information Technology, Deakin University
  • Zaher Joukhadar, Lead Software Engineer, Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI, University of Melbourne
  • Bernd Ploderer
    Bernd Ploderer, Lecturer, Queensland University of Technology & Honorary Fellow, University of Melbourne
  • Denny Oetomo, Associate Professor, Dept of Mechanical Engineering, University of Melbourne
  • Vincent Crocher, Research Fellow, Dept of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Melbourne
  • Eduardo Cofre Lizama, Research Fellow, University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Mary Galea, Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine at the Royal Melbourne Hospital
    Marlena Klaic, Clinical Research Leader, Occupational Therapy, Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Jeni Paay, Researcher, Microsoft Research Centre for SocialNUI, University of Melbourne

Contact details


Ploderer, B., Fong, J., Klaic, M., Nair, S., Vetere, F., Cofré Lizama, E., & Galea, M. (2016). How therapists use visualizations of upper limb movement information from stroke patients: a qualitative study with simulated information. JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies 2016 (Oct 05); 3(2):e9 [DOI] [PDF]

Ploderer, B., Fong, J., Withana, A., Klaic, M., Nair, S., Crocher, V., Vetere, F., & Nanayakkara, S. (2016). ArmSleeve: a patient monitoring system to support occupational therapists in stroke rehabilitation. In Proceedings of the Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS 2016). New York: ACM Press [PDF] [DOI]