[Abstract] Applying a soft-robotic glove as assistive device and training tool with games to support hand function after stroke: Preliminary results on feasibility and potential clinical impact

Abstract

Recent technological developments regarding wearable soft-robotic devices extend beyond the current application of rehabilitation robotics and enable unobtrusive support of the arms and hands during daily activities. In this light, the HandinMind (HiM) system was developed, comprising a soft-robotic, grip supporting glove with an added computer gaming environment. The present study aims to gain first insight into the feasibility of clinical application of the HiM system and its potential impact. In order to do so, both the direct influence of the HiM system on hand function as assistive device and its therapeutic potential, of either assistive or therapeutic use, were explored. A pilot randomized clinical trial was combined with a cross-sectional measurement (comparing performance with and without glove) at baseline in 5 chronic stroke patients, to investigate both the direct assistive and potential therapeutic effects of the HiM system. Extended use of the soft-robotic glove as assistive device at home or with dedicated gaming exercises in a clinical setting was applicable and feasible. A positive assistive effect of the soft-robotic glove was proposed for pinch strength and functional task performance `lifting full cans’ in most of the five participants. A potential therapeutic impact was suggested with predominantly improved hand strength in both participants with assistive use, and faster functional task performance in both participants with therapeutic application.

I. Introduction

Neurorehabilitation research has shown that training programs for patients after stroke should ideally consist of high intensity, task-specific and functional exercises with active contribution of the patient, to have the best chance for improving arm/hand function [1], [2]. Conventional rehabilitation involves predominantly one-to-one attention of a therapist for each patient, which is a challenge when aiming to provide high intensity training and involves high costs [3], [4]. This is impeded further by an increased ageing of the population, associated with a higher prevalence of stroke patients and less healthcare professionals available to provide such intensive training.

 

via Applying a soft-robotic glove as assistive device and training tool with games to support hand function after stroke: Preliminary results on feasibility and potential clinical impact – IEEE Conference Publication

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