[Abstract] DESC glove: Prototyping a novel wearable device for post-stroke hand rehabilitation

Abstract

The human brain integrates tactile sensory information from the fingertips to efficiently manipulate objects. Sensory impairments due to neurological disorders, e.g. stroke, largely reduce hand dexterity and the ability to perform daily living activities. Several feedback augmentation techniques have been investigated for rehabilitative purposes with promising outcomes. However, they often require the use of unpractical, expensive, or complex devices. In this work we propose the delivery of vibrotactile feedback based on the Discrete Event-driven Sensory feedback Control (DESC) to promote motor learning in post stroke rehabilitation. For this purpose, we prototyped a novel wearable device, namely the DESC glove. It consisted of a soft glove instrumented with PolyVinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) sensors at the fingertips and eccentric-mass vibration actuators to be worn on the forearm. We proceeded with the characterization of the device, which resulted in promising outcomes. The DESC glove was tested with ten healthy participants subsequently in a pick and lift timed task. The effects of augmented vibrotactile feedback were assessed comparing it to a baseline, consisting of wearing the device unpowered. The results of this pilot study showed a decrease in the time necessary to perform the task, a reduction in the time delay from load force to grip force activation and a diminishing of the grip force applied on the object, which led to a lower breakage rate in the intervention condition. These promising outcomes encourage further experiments with stroke survivors to validate the effectiveness of the device to improve hand dexterity and promote stroke rehabilitation.

via DESC glove | TU Delft Repositories

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