NYMC Faculty Publications

A Deep-Learning Based Real-Time Prediction of Seated Postural Limits and Its Application in Trunk Rehabilitation

Author Type(s)


Journal Title

IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering

First Page


Last Page


Document Type


Publication Date



Physical Therapy


Seated postural limit defines the boundary of a region such that for any excursions made outside this boundary a subject cannot return the trunk to the neutral position without additional external support. The seated postural limits can be used as a reference to provide assistive support to the torso by the Trunk Support Trainer (TruST). However, fixed boundary representations of seated postural limits are inadequate to capture dynamically changing seated postural limits during training. In this study, we propose a conceptual model of dynamic boundary of the trunk center by assigning a vector that tracks the postural-goal direction and trunk movement amplitude during a sitting task. We experimented with 20 healthy subjects. The results support our hypothesis that TruST intervention with an assist-as-needed force controller based on dynamic boundary representation could achieve more significant sitting postural control improvements than a fixed boundary representation. The second contribution of this paper is that we provide an effective approach to embed deep learning into TruST's real-time controller design. We have compiled a 3D trunk movement dataset which is currently the largest in the literature. We designed a loss function capable of solving the gate-controlled regression problem. We have proposed a novel deep-learning roadmap for the exploration study. Following the roadmap, we developed a deep learning architecture, modified the widely used Inception module, and then obtained a deep learning model capable of accurately predicting the dynamic boundary in real-time. We believe that this approach can be extended to other rehabilitation robots towards designing intelligent dynamic boundary-based assist-as-needed controllers.