[ARTICLE] DEVELOPMENT OF A REHABILITATIVE EXOSKELETAL ARM – Full Text HTML/PDF

 

ABSTRACT
Reduced motor capacity of the upper extremities is a common
result of strokes, spinal cord injuries, accidental injuries, and
neurodegenerative diseases. Sensorimotor recovery can be
attained through gradual and repetitive exercises. In recent
years, robot-assisted rehabilitation has been shown to improve
treatment outcomes in these cases. This paper aims to discuss a
potential method of rehabilitation through the use of a robotic
exoskeletal device that is designed to conform to the shape of
an arm. Three different program methods were developed as
modes of exercise and therapy to achieve passive exercise,
assisted motions, and resistive-active exercise.
INTRODUCTION
Reduced motor capacity of the upper extremities is a
common result of strokes, spinal cord injuries, accidental
injuries, and neurodegenerative diseases. Sensorimotor
recovery can be attained through gradual and repetitive
exercises [3-5]. In recent years, robot-assisted rehabilitation has
been shown to improve treatment outcomes in these cases [6-
10].
Current exoskeleton rehabilitative devices have multiple
advantages over traditionally manual techniques, including [2]:
Data tracking for performance feedback
The ability to apply controlled forces at each joint as
well as magnitude adjustment of such forces based on
patient needs
They can be adjusted for multiple limb sizes to fit
different patients
They can replicate the majority of the patients upper
limb healthy workspace, using multiple degrees of
freedom.
This device contains additional advantages over current
devices. First of all it will be portable. It is going to address a
very specific task, which makes it more user friendly, and last
but not least it has a simple and cost effective design.
This bicep & tricep therapeutic device will have three
modes of operation: passive, assisted motions, and resistive-
active. A linear actuator provides the necessary movement of
the exoskeleton and a pair of force sensors tracks the response
of the patient to the therapeutic session. The passive mode is
for patients that have complete muscle atrophy. In this mode
the actuator does all the work to emotionally stimulate the
patient. The assisted motions mode offers the patient force
amplification. This mode allows patients with weak upper
limbs to perform everyday life tasks such as lifting, pushing,
pulling, etc. In this mode, the speed of the actuator is directly
proportional to the force applied by the user. If the patient
applies a higher force, the actuator moves faster, and vice versa.
In the resistive-active mode, the user must apply a load on the
load sensor that surpasses a certain threshold. When the robot
detects this, it moves the actuator at a speed that creates
resistance for the user. In this mode, if the load applied by the
user falls below the threshold, the actuator stops.
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