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Physiologically Interactive Music (PIM)– Physical Therapy Gait Training Technology

The total US physical therapy industry has annual revenues of about $11 billion. One therapy, gait training, helps patients with a variety of neuromotor disorders and injuries (stroke, traumatic brain injury, etc.) regain their ability to walk. Gait training is also used as a fall prevention strategy, with falls being the leading cause of injury deaths among older adults. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of a new technique, rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS), in improving walking rhythm, speed, and symmetry. RAS presents musical selections with superimposed accentuated rhythmic tones marking the walkers’ pace; however, this technique has been limited to settings in which music therapists work collaboratively with physical therapists. Physiologically Interactive Music (PIM), developed by a researcher at Utah State University, provides an automated technology that would greatly expand the delivery and quality of this new treatment by physical therapists.
Features and Benefits
  • Gait training for patients with:
    • Neurological impairments
    • Muscular impairments
    • Skeletal impairments
  • Gait training for patients in:
    • Physical therapy clinics
    • Hospitals
    • Rehabilitation centers
    • Nursing homes
    • Outpatient residences
  • Automatically influences gait characteristics using input from foot sensors, bringing RAS capability to entire PT market
  • Musical stimuli may be in conjunction with natural foot falls, at target foot falls, or, for the first time, in an interactive manner that systematically shapes gait parameters
  • Volume of accentuated rhythmic tones can be altered without affecting music volume, allowing increased neural stimulation or assistance fade out
Using music of the patient’s choice or from a predetermined menu, PIM provides a new gait training technology by presenting a combined base track of prerecorded music (base tempo) and a rhythmic musical track of accentuated tones (activity tempo). The activity tempo, which can be preprogrammed, manual, or interactive based on foot sensor feedback, is altered to influence various gait parameters, and, depending on the application, the base track may be continuously synchronized with the activity track.
Development Stage
One issued patent and one pending utility patent.
U.S. Patent Application No. 20090260506
U.S. Patent No. 5,267,942
Allan Wood
Commercialization Associate
Technology Commercialization Office
(435) 797-2515
Reference: W07045