Speech Pathologists Track Progression of Patient’s Speech Therapy with FlexiForce™
Traditionally, speech pathologists evaluate the health of orofacial muscles by asking a patient to contract their tongue against an imposed object, such as a gloved finger. In recent years, pathologists have sought more precise methods of quantifying these contractions in order to improve diagnoses of muscular diseases and measure a patient's progression during speech therapy.
Challenge: Quantifying force and pressure measurements in speech pathology patients
Specialists and doctors routinely assess the study of orofacial structures in a qualitative manner leaving room for human error. Quantifying the force and pressure of the structures provides a better diagnosis of muscular diseases pertaining to the mouth and face. In 2002, a professor and group of speech pathology students joined the Biomechanic Engineering Group from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil to study and improve the assessment of orofacial structures. The team sought to design a device that would quantify the force and pressure of the orofacial structures, specifically the tongue and lips.
Solution: Incorporating FlexiForce sensors into the mouthguard
The team of engineers and students worked together to design a mouth guard, the FORLING, that properly measures a patient's tongue protrusion force. The group integrated the FlexiForce™ A201 sensors into the mouth guard in order to quantify the force measurements. The FORLING is a lightweight, low cost, reliable mouthpiece that is then connected to a data acquisition system. The inner surface of the mouthpiece contains a base, an A201 force sensor, an applicator pin, a holder, and a force applicator. The data acquisition system creates a patient profile after recording the patients tongue measurements three times. The acquired data allows speech pathologists to track their patient's progress during speech therapy.
Benefits of FlexiForce Sensors
- Ultra-thin sensor construction and flexibility means minimal interference/disturbance to normal action
- Accurate response gives your customers and end users confidence in the performance of your product
- Knowledgeable, experienced technical staff help you develop the most effective, economical sensor based on your specific requirements. All manufacturing takes place at ISO 9001 compliant & 13485 registered Tekscan headquarters.
- 100% factory inspection ensures your sensors meet established performance specifications
Getting Started with FlexiForce Sensors
FlexiForce sensors are available off-the-shelf in packs of four or eight for testing and prototyping. Visit our online store to place an order, or contact us to discuss customization options with one of our engineers.
Source: Amanda Freitas Valentim, Renata Maria Moreira Moraes Furlan, Tatiana Vargas de Castro Perilo, Andréa Rodrigues Motta, Monalise Costa Batista Berbert, Márcio Falcão Santos Barroso, Cláudio Gomes da Costa, Iracema Maria Utsch Braga and Estevam Barbosa de Las Casas (2012). Development and Clinical Application of Instruments to Measure Orofacial Structures, Applied Biological Engineering - Principles and Practice, Dr. Ganesh R. Naik (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0412-4, InTech.