Biofeedback rehabilitation is widely used in the clinical/physiotherapy field, since it helps to re-establish correct motor patterns following trauma and injury. Clinically, it involves providing patients with information about their physiological/motor functions in real time with the use of specific equipment: the aim is to help them become more aware of their functional efficiency.
This information is sometimes referred to as extrinsic feedback, meaning feedback that provides the user with extra information in addition to what is naturally available: the parameters shown are very often unknown to the subject, but are provided by a measuring instrument. Therefore, biofeedback generally involves detecting a target biomedical variable whose value is given to the user with one of the following two strategies:
- Direct feedback on the measured variable, for example the number of steps, where a numerical value is displayed on a wearable device, such as a smartwatch.
- Transformed feedback, where measurements are used to control an adaptive auditory signal, image, or tactile feedback method.
With Optogait and Gyko, biofeedback can be used in rehabilitation practice
In fact, both systems have a specific module dedicated to BioFeedback, which allows subjects to view certain space and time parameters related to their movement, in real time on another screen (e.g. on a TV or tablet placed in front of the subject). This form of training or rehabilitation is typically applied to stepping or treadmill walking or running, depending on the patient’s abilities. The variables commonly used include the duration of the loading response and single support phases, speed, and contact and flight times. These values can be displayed as absolute or as a difference between the two limbs in order to help the subject perceive asymmetries (postural control). It is also possible to set a “red” threshold beyond which subjects must work harder to improve their motor performance. To conclude, Optogait’s biofeedback module also provides an interface for children so as to facilitate paediatric rehabilitation: in this case, the value of the variable is not shown directly, but the exercise becomes a game where a small dragon can only reach its destination if the child improves its motor performance (see Figure 1).
In the field of strength training, by using the GykoRepower software the intensity of the exercise can be monitored with visual biofeedback in real time by means of a work threshold that can be set at the desired level by the user.
 O. M. Giggins, U. M. Persson, and B. Caulfield, “Biofeedback in rehabilitation,” J. Neuroengineering Rehabil., vol. 10, p. 60, Jun. 2013, doi: 10.1186/1743-0003-10-60.