Neurological impairments such as stroke cause damage to the functional mobility of survivors and affect their ability to perform activities of daily living. Recently, robotic treatment for upper limb stroke rehabilitation has received significant attention because it can provide high-intensity and repetitive movement therapy. In this review, the current status of upper limb rehabilitation robots is explored. Firstly, an overview of mechanical design of robotics for upper-limb rehabilitation and clinical effects of part robots are provided. Then, the comparisons of human-machine interactions, control strategies, driving modes, and training modes are described. Finally, the development and the possible future directions of the upper limb rehabilitation robot are discussed.
Stroke is one of the leading causes for disability. In China, there are more than 2 million new cases every year. More than 1.5 million people die from stroke each year, and three quarters of the survivors have varying degrees of sequelae . The weakness and loss of the control of the upper limb that arise from nerve damage are the main symptoms . This disease not only brings pain and heavy financial burden to patients and families but also brings huge economic losses and some social problems to the country.
With the development of robot technology, the application of robot in rehabilitation has aroused wide concern in the international community. A series of intelligent rehabilitation robots including artificial prosthesis and external mechanical auxiliary system have successfully developed to help patients to achieve functional recovery or compensation for the loss of motor function [3–5].
There are two types of rehabilitation robot for upper extremity: one is end-effector upper limb rehabilitation robots, another is exoskeleton rehabilitation robot . These robots can provide rehabilitation training tasks used to guide the patients to complete targeted rehabilitation training (Figure 1). At the same time, the provision of repetitive and intensive physical therapy greatly reduces the burden of physical therapists [7–10].