Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Mark E. Rentschler

Second Advisor

Daria Kotys-Schwartz

Third Advisor

Emily Lindley

Abstract

The focus of this study is the redesign, development, fabrication, and initial evaluation of an automated pain measurement device. The redesign will focus on improving the original Computer Controlled Pressure Algometer, designed by Zimkowski in 2010. Pain measurement is very difficult to accurately accomplish, and current methods are limited to subjective techniques such as pain rating scales and handheld algometry. These subjective methods of pain measurement have many shortcomings that render them inadequate at reliably assessing an individual's pain. Large variability has been shown with these testing methods, which can be prone to error due to test administrator, environmental and psychological conditions, and individual patient factors. This study hypothesizes that by creating an automated device, these sources of variability may be minimized. The improved automated pain measurement device enhances usability, functionality, and aesthetics compared to the original device - these improvements will enable more practical clinical studies. Furthermore, the addition of biometrics could introduce an objective measure of pain. By creating an automated pain measurement device with integrated biometrics, both subjective and objective pain response data could be collected for each patient, eventually establishing a personalized pain scale for each patient. These personalized pain scales could then be used to better assess, diagnose, and treat ailments which cause chronic and acute pain.

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