Project Duration: 12 months

Partners: Ambiquire, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, and Cardiff University.

Project Aim: To create a new treatment paradigm which will provide clinicians and patients with objective movement analysis data to help guide therapy for individuals with knee pain


Musculoskeletal conditions are the leading contributor to chronic pain and disability, with knee pain amongst the most common patient presentations. Physiotherapy plays an important role in the rehabilitation process after injury or disease; however, the monitoring of patient progress often relies on clinical judgement, and patient feedback. Technology has the potential to provide objective data to accelerate rehabilitation, but further work is needed to translate its use from movement laboratories into patient homes and NHS clinics

The Sensor Physiotherapy Intervention (SPIN) Research Group at Cardiff University have been researching how wearable biomechanical sensors may play role in providing objective assessment and feedback on patient movement. Such technology could be used to underpin a concordant approach to guiding treatment and measuring change.

Ambiquire, a company based in South Wales, have developed a micro-wearable device (inertial measurement unit) that can acquire and wirelessly stream real time “movement “data.

This project seeks to bring movement sensor technology together with biomechanical data and embedded clinical expertise to develop a simple and affordable product to provide objective movement feedback to patients and physiotherapists. The intention is to deliver this through:

  • The development of machine learning algorithms to quantify the biomechanical parameters using single or multi Ambiquire Inertial measurement units (IMUs).
  • The development of a web-based interface for biomechanical clinic and home use

Steve Gardner - Managing Director Ambiquire said,

"Whether you have had a sporting injury, recovering from surgery or simply getting older, movement induced joint pain can be completely debilitating. To address this growing problem, the Accelerate programme has provided an excellent mechanism to facilitate the collaboration between leading Ambiquire engineers and expert Biomechanics researchers and Active Health clinicians at Cardiff University.

Combining the latest Ambiquire electronic measurement devices, data analytics and AI inference techniques the partnership aims to develop a novel system to enable “patient specific” interventions to be designed and effectively monitored remotely at their home.“

Dr Kate Button - Physiotherapist and R&D lead for Therapies in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board & Director of Research Governance & Active Health Research Theme Lead, School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University said,

“Joint pain is a common condition and it is estimated that 23% of individuals aged over 45 in Wales have hip and or knee osteoarthritis. For physiotherapists being able to monitor and provide feedback on how people move and carry out their exercises at home has the potential to transform treatment and maximise the benefit for these individuals”

Accelerate is supporting the delivery of this collaborative project through Cardiff University’s academic expertise and the provision of project management and facilitation through the Clinical Innovation Accelerator.

Ambiquire, will bring their expertise to the project in terms of the development of IMUs, and will contribute their experience in delivering commercially viable products.

From a clinical perspective, expertise will be provided by a specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapist from Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

Expected Outcomes

  • A new product market for the Ambiquire technology
  • An affordable, objective measurement tool to support home-based rehabilitation
  • Patient progression informed by objective movement data
  • Opportunities for further collaboration and new funding stream between project partners
  • Case studies & Peer reviewed publications

Future Impact

  • Economic impact through expansion of the technology into different fields through a greater understanding of clinical need.
  • Company growth driven by collaborative R&D
  • Increased efficacy of musculoskeletal rehabilitation in the home setting
  • Patient empowerment through increased internal locus of control
  • Deliverables aligned with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales)

This project is part of the Accelerate programme which is part-funded by the European Regional Development fund, through Welsh Government.

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