Archive for category Rehabilitation robotics
[Abstract + References] eConHand: A Wearable Brain-Computer Interface System for Stroke Rehabilitation
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[Abstract + References] Self-paced movement intention recognition from EEG signals during upper limb robot-assisted rehabilitation
[ARTICLE] Compliant lower limb exoskeletons: a comprehensive review on mechanical design principles – Full Text
Exoskeleton technology has made significant advances during the last decade, resulting in a considerable variety of solutions for gait assistance and rehabilitation. The mechanical design of these devices is a crucial aspect that affects the efficiency and effectiveness of their interaction with the user. Recent developments have pointed towards compliant mechanisms and structures, due to their promising potential in terms of adaptability, safety, efficiency, and comfort. However, there still remain challenges to be solved before compliant lower limb exoskeletons can be deployed in real scenarios. In this review, we analysed 52 lower limb wearable exoskeletons, focusing on three main aspects of compliance: actuation, structure, and interface attachment components. We highlighted the drawbacks and advantages of the different solutions, and suggested a number of promising research lines. We also created and made available a set of data sheets that contain the technical characteristics of the reviewed devices, with the aim of providing researchers and end-users with an updated overview on the existing solutions.
Robotic wearable exoskeletons1 have potential impact in several application domains, like industry , space  and healthcare . In the healthcare sector, this technology is expected to contribute by reducing the clinical costs associated with the assistance and rehabilitation of people with neurological and age-related disorders [3, 4, 5, 6]. Research in this area is clearly shifting toward the inclusion of compliant elements (i.e. actuators, structure2, etc.) as a way to overcome the main drawbacks of rigid exoskeletons, in terms of adaptability, comfort, safety and efficiency .
Currently, there is a large variety of designs of lower limb compliant exoskeletons aimed at gait rehabilitation or assistance. However, there is a lack of detailed information about the mechanical components of these devices, which has been largely overlooked by previous reviews (e.g. [7, 8, 9]). These variety and lack of information makes it difficult for developers to identify which design choices are most important for a specific application, user’s need or pathology. For this reason, we aimed to bring together available literature into a comprehensive review focused on existing lower limb wearable exoskeletons that contain compliant elements in their design.
In this work, we refer to ‘compliant exoskeleton’ as a system that includes compliant properties derived from non-rigid actuation system and/or structure. Our review focused on three particular aspects: the actuation technology, the structure of the exoskeleton and the interface attachment components3.
We have gathered the mechanical and actuation characteristics of 52 devices into standardized data sheets (available at Additional file 1), to facilitate the process of comparison of the different solutions under a unified and homogeneous perspective. We consider that such a comprehensive summary will be vital to researchers and developers in search for an updated design reference.
We applied the following search query on the Scopus database: TITLE-ABS-KEY(“actuat*” AND (“complian*” OR “elastic*” OR “soft”) AND (“exoskeleton*” OR “rehabilitat*” OR “orthotic*” OR “orthos*” OR (“wearable” AND “robot*”)) OR “exosuit” OR “exo-suit”), which returned 1131 studies. We excluded: publications focusing on upper limb robots; non-actuated compliant exoskeletons; solutions where compliance was achieved through control; studies that did not report any mechanical information on the robot; and studies not related to either assistance or rehabilitation. The above process resulted in a total of 105 publications, which covered 52 different lower limb exoskeletons.
To simplify and structure the information, we classified the compliant exoskeletons according to the mechanical component that results in their intrinsic compliant performance: (i) exoskeletons with compliant actuators (i.e. series elastic, variable stiffness and pneumatic actuators) and rigid structure; (ii) exoskeletons with soft structure (soft exoskeletons4) and rigid actuators; (iii) exoskeletons with compliant actuators and soft structure. The review describes the different design choices of the exoskeletons, i.e. actuation system, structure and interfacing attachment components to connect the actuators with the human body.
A glossary with the most commonly used terms in this article has been added at the end of the document. Some definitions have been readapted from the literature.
Motus Nova is expanding its list of partner hospitals and clinics using its FDA-approved robotic stroke therapy system. It also plans to introduce its system to the consumer market for home use in Q3 2019.
Twenty-five hospitals in the Atlanta area within Emory Healthcare, the Grady Health System, and the Wellstar Health System are now using the Motus Nova rehabilitation therapy system, which is designed to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate recovery from neurological injuries such as strokes.
The system features a Hand Mentor and Foot Mentor, which are sleeve-like robots that fit over a stroke survivor’s impaired hand or foot. Equipped with an active-assist air muscle and a suite of sensors and accelerometers, they provide clinically appropriate assistance and resistance while individual’s perform the needed therapeutic exercises.
A touchscreen console provides goal-directed biofeedback through interactive games—which Motus Nova calls “theratainment”—that make the tedious process of neuro rehab engaging and fun.
“It’s a system that has proven to be a valuable partner to stroke therapy professionals, where it complements skilled clinical care by augmenting the repetitive rehabilitation requirements of stroke recovery and freeing the clinician to do more nuanced care and assessment,” says Nick Housley, director of clinical research for Atlanta-based Motus Nova, in a media release.
“And while we continue to fill orders for the system to support therapy in the clinic and hospital, we also are looking to use our system to fill the gap patients often experience in receiving the needed therapy once they go home.”
Clinical studies show that neuroplasticity begins after approximately many 10’s to 100’s of hours of active guided rehab. The healing process can take months or years, and sometimes the individuals might never fully recover. Yet the typical regimen for stroke survivors is only two to three hours of outpatient therapy per week for a period of three to four months.
“These constraints were instituted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in determining Medicare reimbursement without a full understanding of the appropriate dosing required for stroke recovery, and many private insurers have adopted the policy, as well,” states David Wu, Motus Nova’s CEO.
Motus Nova plans to offer a more practical model, the release continues.
“By making the system available for home use at a reasonable weekly rate as long as the patient needs it, the individual can perform therapy anytime,” Wu adds. “A higher dosage of therapy can be achieved without the inconvenience of scheduling appointments with therapists or traveling to and from a clinic, and without the high cost of going to an outpatient center every time the individual wants to do therapy.”
While the system gathers data about individual performance, AI tailors the regimen to maximize user gains, discover new approaches, minimize side effects and help the stroke survivor realize his or her full potential more quickly.
“By optimizing factors such as frequency, intensity, difficulty, encouragement, and motivation, the AI system builds a personalized medicine plan uniquely tailored to each individual user of the system,” Housley comments.
“Our system is durable, too, proven in clinical trials to deliver an engaging physical therapy experience over thousands of repetitions. We look forward to making it available on a much wider scale in the coming months.”
[Source(s): Motus Nova, PR Newswire]
[Abstract] An Adaptive Iterative Learning Based Impedance Control For Robot-Aided Upper-limb Passive Rehabilitation
In this paper, an anthropomorphic arm is introduced and used to the upper-limb passive rehabilitation therapy. The anthropomorphic arm is constructed via pneumatic artificial muscles so that it may assist patients suffering upper-limb diseases to achieve mild therapeutic exercises. Due to the uncertain dynamic environment, external disturbances and model uncertainties, a combined control is proposed to stabilize and to enhance the adaptivity of the system. In the combined control, an iterative learning control is used to realize accurate position tracking. Meanwhile, an adaptive iterative learning based impedance control is proposed to execute the appropriate contact force during the therapy of the upper-limb. The advantage of the combined control is that it doesn’t depend on the accurate model of systems and it may deal with highly nonlinear system which has strong coupling and redundancies. The convergence of the adaptive iterative learning based impedance control is emphasized analyzed. Numerical simulations are performed to verify the proposed control method. In addition, real experiments are executed on the Southwest anthropomorphic arm.
[Abstract] Decoupling Finger Joint Motion in an Exoskeletal Hand: A Design for Robot-assisted Rehabilitation
In this study, a cable-driven exoskeleton device is developed for stroke patients to enable them to perform passive range of motion exercises and teleoperation rehabilitation of their impaired hands. Each exoskeleton finger is controlled by an actuator via two cables. The motions between the metacarpophalangeal and distal/proximal interphalangeal joints are decoupled, through which the movement pattern is analogous to that observed in the human hand. A dynamic model based on the Lagrange method is derived to estimate how cable tension varies with the angular position of the finger joints. Two discernable phases are observed, each of which reflects the motion of the metacarpophalangeal and distal/proximal interphalangeal joints. The tension profiles of exoskeleton fingers predicted by the Lagrange model are verified through a mechatronic integrated platform. The model can precisely estimate the tensions at different movement velocities, and it shows that the characteristics of two independent phases remain the same even for a variety of movement velocities. The feasibility for measuring resistance when manipulating a patient’s finger is demonstrated in human experiments. Specifically, the net force required to move a subject’s finger joints can be accounted for by the Lagrange model.
After her brain injury, there seemed little hope for recovery. With the right therapy, tools and attitude she has defied all odds.
Her stepfather, Bob, and therapists at More Rehab tell us her story, her rehabilitation journey so far, and the particular benefits of walking therapy with the Indego exoskeleton.
We’re sure you agree that she is an extraordinary woman!
We also hope that you can see that it is a combination of great therapy, excellent technology, incredible support and hard work that creates results. Here at Anatomical Concepts we focus on the Technology, and we partner with great therapists (just like More Rehab) who we know will give a high standard of support, training and encouragement.
You can learn a lot more about Indego here or complete the form below and we’ll be in touch!
[REVIEW ARTICLE] Robot-Assisted Therapy in Upper Extremity Hemiparesis: Overview of an Evidence-Based Approach – Full Text
Robot-mediated therapy is an innovative form of rehabilitation that enables highly repetitive, intensive, adaptive, and quantifiable physical training. It has been increasingly used to restore loss of motor function, mainly in stroke survivors suffering from an upper limb paresis. Multiple studies collated in a growing number of review articles showed the positive effects on motor impairment, less clearly on functional limitations. After describing the current status of robotic therapy after upper limb paresis due to stroke, this overview addresses basic principles related to robotic therapy applied to upper limb paresis. We demonstrate how this innovation is an evidence-based approach in that it meets both the improved clinical and more fundamental knowledge-base about regaining effective motor function after stroke and the need of more objective, flexible and controlled therapeutic paradigms.
Robot-mediated rehabilitation is an innovative exercise-based therapy using robotic devices that enable the implementation of highly repetitive, intensive, adaptive, and quantifiable physical training. Since the first clinical studies with the MIT-Manus robot (1), robotic applications have been increasingly used to restore loss of motor function, mainly in stroke survivors suffering from an upper limb paresis but also in cerebral palsy (2), multiple sclerosis (3), spinal cord injury (4), and other disease types. Thus, multiple studies suggested that robot-assisted training, integrated into a multidisciplinary program, resulted in an additional reduction of motor impairments in comparison to usual care alone in different stages of stroke recovery: namely, acute (5–7), subacute (1, 8), and chronic phases after the stroke onset (9–11). Typically, patients engaged in the robotic therapy showed an impairment reduction of 5 points or more in the Fugl-Meyer assessment as compared to usual care. Of notice, rehabilitation studies conducted during the chronic stroke phase suggest that a 5-point differential represents the minimum clinically important difference (MCID), i.e., the magnitude of change that is necessary to produce real-world benefits for patients (12). These results were collated in multiple review articles and meta-analyses (13–17). In contrast, the advantage of robotic training over usual care in terms of functional benefit is less clear, but there are recent results that suggest how best to organize training to achieve superior results in terms of both impairment and function (18). Indeed, the use of the robotic tool has allowed us the parse and study the ingredients that should form an efficacious and efficient rehabilitation program. The aim of this paper is to provide a general overview of the current state of robotic training in upper limb rehabilitation after stroke, to analyze the rationale behind its use, and to discuss our working model on how to more effectively employ robotics to promote motor recovery after stroke.
Upper Extremity Robotic Therapy: Current Status
Robotic systems used in the field of neurorehabilitation can be organized under two basic categories: exoskeleton and end-effector type robots. Exoskeleton robotic systems allow us to accurately determine the kinematic configuration of human joints, while end-effector type robots exert forces only in the most distal part of the affected limb. A growing number of commercial robotic devices have been developed employing either configuration. Examples of exoskeleton type include the Armeo®Spring, Armeo®Power, and Myomo® and of end-effector type include the InMotion™, Burt®, Kinarm™ and REAplan®. Both categories enable the implementation of intensive training and there are many other devices in different stages of development or commercialization (19, 20).
The last decade has seen an exponential growth in both the number of devices as well as clinical trials. The results coalesced in a set of systematic reviews, meta-analyses (13–17) and guidelines such as those published by the American Heart Association and the Veterans Administration (AHA and VA) (21). There is a clear consensus that upper limb therapy using robotic devices over 30–60-min sessions, is safe despite the larger number of movement repetitions (14).
This technic is feasible and showed a high rate of eligibility; in the VA ROBOTICS (9, 11) study, nearly two thirds of interviewed stroke survivors were enrolled in the study. As a comparison the EXCITE cohort of constraint-induced movement therapy enrolled only 6% of the screened patients participated (22). On that issue, it is relevant to notice the admission criteria of both chronic stroke studies. ROBOTICS enrolled subjects with Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA) of 38 or lower (out of 66) while EXCITE typically enrolled subjects with an FMA of 42 or higher. Duret and colleagues demonstrated that the target population, based on motor impairments, seems to be broader in the robotic intervention which includes patients with severe motor impairments, a group that typically has not seen much benefit from usual care (23). Indeed, Duret found that more severely impaired patients benefited more from robot-assisted training and that co-factors such as age, aphasia, and neglect had no impact on the amount of repetitive movements performed and were not contraindicated. Furthermore, all patients enrolled in robotic training were satisfied with the intervention. This result is consistent with the literature (24).
The main outcome result is that robotic therapy led to significantly more improvement in impairment as compared to conventional usual care, but only slightly more on motor function of the limb segments targeted by the robotic device (16). For example, Bertani et al. (15) and Zhang et al. (17) found that robotic training was more effective in reducing motor impairment than conventional usual care therapy in patients with chronic stroke, and further meta-analyses suggested that using robotic therapy as an adjunct to conventional usual care treatment is more effective than robotic training alone (13–17). Other examples of disproven beliefs: many rehabilitation professionals mistakenly expected significant increase of muscle hyperactivity and shoulder pain due to the intensive training. Most studies showed just the opposite, i.e., that intensive robotic training was associated with tone reduction as compared to the usual care groups (9, 25, 26). These results are shattering the resistance to the widespread adoption of robotic therapy as a therapeutic modality post-stroke.
That said, not all is rosy. Superior changes in functional outcomes were more controversial until the very last years as most studies and reviews concluded that robotic therapy did not improve activities of daily living beyond traditional care. One first step was reached in 2015 with Mehrholz et al. (14), who found that robotic therapy can provide more functional benefits when compared to other interventions however with a quality of evidence low to very low. 2018 may have seen a decisive step in favor of robotic as the latest meta-analysis conducted by Mehrholz et al. (27) concluded that robot-assisted arm training may improve activities of daily living in the acute phase after stroke with a high quality of evidence However, the results must be interpreted with caution because of the high variability in trial designs as evidenced by the multicenter study (28) in which robotic rehabilitation using the Armeo®Spring, a non-motorized device, was compared to self-management with negative results on motor impairments and potential functional benefits in the robotic group.
The Robot Assisted Training for the Upper Limb after Stroke (RATULS) study (29) might clarify things and put everyone in agreement on the topic. Of notice, RATULS goes beyond the Veterans Administration ROBOTICS with chronic stroke or the French REM_AVC study with subacute stroke. RATULS included 770 stroke patients and covered all stroke phases, from acute to chronic, and it included a positive meaningful control in addition to usual care.[…]