In order to measure quantitatively the neuro-psychomotor conditions of an individual with a view to subsequently detecting his/her state of health, it is necessary to obtain a set of parameters such as reaction time, speed, strength and tremor. By processing these parameters through the use of fuzzy logic it is possible to monitor an individual's state of health, .i.e. whether he/she is healthy or affected by a particular pathology such as Parkinson's disease, dementia, etc.
The set of parameters obtained is useful not only to diagnose neuro-motor pathologies (e.g. Parkinson Disease), but also to assess general everyday health or to monitor sports performance; moreover, continuous use of the device by an individual for health-monitoring purposes, not only allows for detection of the onset of a particular pathology but also provides greater awareness in terms of how life style or certain habits tend to have repercussions on psycho-physical well-being. Since an individual's state of health should be continually monitored, it is essential that he or she can manage the test autonomously without his/her emotional state being influenced: autonomous testing is important, as the individual is likely to be more relaxed thus obviating emotional problems. The new system has been designed with reference to the biomechanical characteristics of the human finger.
Disease detector (DDX) is a new bio robotic device that is a fuzzy based control system for the detection of neuro-motional and psychophysical health conditions. The initial experimental system (DD1) and the current system (DD2) are not easily portable and, even if they are very reliable, cannot estimate the patient health beyond the typical parameters of Parkinson's disease nor are they able to remotely transmit such diagnoses.
This new bio-robotic system is exploited in order to obtain an intelligent and reliable detector supported by a very small and portable device, with a simple joystick with few buttons, a liquid-display (LCD), and a simple interface for remote communication of diagnosis. It may be adopted for earth and space applications, because of its portability, in order to measure all the reactions in front of external effects.
The DDX control system consists of a small board with an internal fuzzy microcontroller that acquires, through the action on a button on the joystick, some important parameters: reaction time, motion speed, force of the finger on the button, and tremor and analyses them by fuzzy rules in order to detect the patient's disease class. Moreover this new device also includes a system to detect vocal reaction. The resulting output can be visualized through a display or transmitted by a communication interface.
Reaction time, speed, force, and tremor are parameters that are used to obtain a quantitative instrumental determination of a patient's neuro-psychophysical health. These parameters have been used in the study of the progression of Parkinson's disease, a particularly degenerative neural process, but these parameters can also be useful in detecting the wellness of a healthy person. As a matter of fact, these measurements turn out to be an excellent method of finding reactive parameters alteration due not only to a pathology, but also, for example, to the use of drugs, alcohol, drugs used in the treatment of mental conditions, or other substances that could affect a person's reactive and coordination capabilities.