Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2013

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Casavant, Thomas

First Committee Member

Braun, Terry

Second Committee Member

Morcuende, Jose

Third Committee Member

Scheetz, Todd


Clubfoot is a congenital foot disorder that, left untreated, can limit a person's mobility by making it difficult and painful to walk. Although inexpensive and reliable treatment exists, clubfoot often goes untreated in the developing world, where 80% of cases occur.

Many nonprofit and non-governmental organizations are partnering with hospitals and clinics in the developing world to provide treatment for patients with clubfoot, and to train medical personnel in the use of these treatment methods.

As a component of these partnerships, clinics and hospitals are collecting patient records. Some of this patient information, such as photographs, requires expert quality assessment. Such assessment may occur at a later date by a staff member in the hospital, or it may occur in a completely different location through the web interface. Photographs capture the state of a patient at a specific point in time. If a photograph is not taken correctly, and as a result, has no clinical utility, the photograph cannot be recreated because that moment in time has passed.

These observations have motivated the desire to perform real-time classification of clubfoot images as they are being captured in a possibly remote and challenging environment. In the short term, successful classification could provide immediate feedback to those taking patient photos, helping to ensure that the image is of good quality and the foot is oriented correctly at the time of image capture. In the long term, this classification could be the basis for automated image analysis that could reduce the workload of a busy staff, and enable broader provision of treatment.


Classification, Clubfoot, Developing World, Machine Learning, Point-of-care, Talipes


viii, 74 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 72-74).


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Copyright © 2013 Amanda Marie De Hoedt

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