Assistive devices for Parkinson's Patients

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by postural instability, rigidity, reduced movement, or tremor. Worldwide prevalence is estimated between 4.0 and 16.1 million people and is expected to be more than doubled by 2030. There is no cure at the moment. Current treatment is mainly pharmacological and focuses on relief of motor symptoms.


Typically PD patients suffer from freezes of gait that increases the risk of fall.

At ETH-Z we are developing a mobile assistive device for PD patients that recognizes such freezes and stimulates the user through an rhythm auditory signal to resume walking.

Results have shown that patients subjectively feel a ease. Furthermore preliminary results have shown that for a subset of patients a reduced duration of freeze can be measured with activated system.

This project is financed by the FP7 European project Cupid.

Fig 1. Parkinson's patient wearing multiple sensors.

Fig 2. Final GaitAssist System






[1] GaitAssist: A Daily-Life Support and Training System for Parkinson’s Disease Patients with Freezing of Gait. S. Mazilu, U. Blanke, M. Hardegger, E. Gazit, J. M. Hausdorff, G. Tröster.
ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. (CHI2014).

[2] (Demo) GaitAssist: A Wearable Assistant for Gait Training and Rehabilitation in Parkinson's Disease
S. Mazilu, M. Hardegger, U.Blanke, G. Tröster.
12th IEEE Intl. Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications (PerCom2014).

Best demo award

[3] Engineers Meet Clinicians: Augmenting Parkinson's Disease Patients to Gather Information for Gait Rehabilitation S. Mazilu, E. Gazit, U. Blanke, D. Roggen, J. Hausdorff and G. Tröster.

ACM SIGCHI Augmented Human 2013.
(AH) Stuttgart, Germany..