Real-time multi-agent systems for telerehabilitation scenarios

Davide Calvaresi, Mauro Marinoni, Aldo Franco Dragoni, Roger Hilfiker, Michael Schumacher
Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 2019 February 14
Telerehabilitation in older adults is most needed in the patient environments, rather than in formal ambulatories or hospitals. Supporting such practices brings significant advantages to patients, their family, formal and informal caregivers, clinicians, and researchers. This paper presents a focus group with experts in physiotherapy and telerehabilitation, debating on the requirements, current techniques and technologies developed to facilitate and enhance the effectiveness of telerehabilitation, and the still open challenges. Particular emphasis is given to (i) the body-parts requiring the most rehabilitation, (ii) the typical environments, initial causes, and general conditions, (iii) the values and parameters to be observed, (iv) common errors and limitations of current practices and technological solutions, and (v) the envisioned and desired technological support. Consequently, it has been performed a systematic review of the state of the art, investigating what types of systems and support currently cope with telerehabilitation practices and possible matches with the outcomes of the focus group. Technological solutions based on video analysis, wearable devices, robotic support, distributed sensing, and gamified telerehabilitation are examined. Particular emphasis is given to solutions implementing agent-based approaches, analyzing and discussing strength, limitations, and future challenges. By doing so, it has been possible to relate functional requirements expressed by professional physiotherapists and researchers, with the need for extending multi-agent systems (MAS) peculiarities at the sensing level in wearable solutions establishing new research challenges. In particular, to be employed in safety-critical cyber-physical scenarios with user-sensor and sensor-sensor interactions, MAS are requested to handle timing constraints, scarcity of resources and new communication means, crucial to providing real-time feedback and coaching. Therefore, MAS pillars such as the negotiation protocol and the agent's internal scheduler have been investigated, proposing solutions to achieve the aforementioned real-time compliance.


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