Dr. Caitlyn Seim works in the Collaborative Haptics and Robotics in Medicine (CHARM) Lab with Allison Okamura and is co-advised by Maarten Lansberg in the department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences. In 2019, Caitlyn received a PhD in Human-Centered Computing from the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, advised by Thad Starner. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering with Highest Honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology in May 2013. Dr. Seim is the recent recipient of an Interdisciplinary Scholar Award from the Stanford Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute. Dr. Seim’s goal is to develop new methods of improving limb function impaired by brain injury. Building on the growing evidence that vibrotactile stimulation may facilitate recovery, she has designed a new wearable device that provides stimulation for extended periods of time and allows a treatment in the background of daily life – enabling an intensive, mobile intervention that is accessible even to those who cannot perform traditional exercises due to low dexterity.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability both in the United States and globally. Limited arm and hand function after a stroke can be a major challenge to a survivor’s independence and return to a healthy life. There is promising preliminary data on the potential impact of tactile stimulation for limb recovery, but current apparatus used to apply this stimulation limit research to short, laboratory studies. By designing a wireless, wearable device to apply this stimulation, treatment can occur for hours each day during daily life. Currently there are many barriers to a successful recovery after stroke, such as limited access to clinics and adherence to therapy routines. This work aims to evaluate a low-cost and mobile aide to recovery. Results of a preliminary trial found significant changes in tactile perception and muscle tone after eight weeks using a stimulation device daily.