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Posts Tagged Exoskeleton
[Abstract] Design a solution and a prototype for hand rehabilitation after trauma injures and post stroke
Hand injuries are common but if left untreated, it may result in loss of function. Common causes of upper limb injuries are Post Stroke or Trauma. Trauma include falls, cuts from knives or glass as well as workplace injuries. The impairment of finger movements after injures results in a significant deficit in hands everyday performances.
Rehabilitation helps the patient to regain the hands full functionality. Hand therapy is the art that fills the gap between surgery and practical life. It helps the patient to regain the hands full functionality after a certain injury, surgery or Stroke. Hand therapy could be a very tedious process that implies physical exhaustion. Rehabilitation at home is a long process . And it should be done under therapist control. Also finding appointments with the therapist frequent enough for an efficient healing process, is difficult and costly.
Since trying new technologies is usually exciting to people, using the advancements in the field of artificial intelligence could be a solution to this. Different rehabilitation techniques have been developed, nevertheless, they require the presence of a tutor to be executed. To overcome this issue have been designed several apparatuses that allow the patient to perform the training by itself. Trying new technologies is exciting to people.
Hand exoskeleton was implemented to help the patients do their exercises at home in an engaging gamified environment. The objective is to design a portable, lightweight exoskeleton with adjustment fast assemble system. The device support fingers and excluding second injuries. It reproduce pinch exercise. Thus, an easy to use and effective device is needed to provide the right training and complete the rehabilitation techniques in the best way.
In this paper, a review of state of the art in this field is provided, along with an introduc- tion to the problems caused by a hand injuries and the consequences for the mobility of the hand. Then follows a complete review of the exoskeleton project design. The objective is to design a device that can be used at home, with a lightweight and affordable structure and a fast mounting system. For implementing all these features, many aspects have been analysed, starting from the rehabilitation requirements and the ergonomic issues. This device should be able to reproduce the training movements on an injured hand without the need for assistance by an external tutor.
The control system is based on Arduino UNO board, and the user interface is based on UNITY, the objective is to create an online media that allows the patient to exploit the capabilities of the exoskeleton, following the indication of its medic. On the other side, this interface should provide all the data related to the performances of the patient to allow a more precise therapy.
tenoexo is a compact and lightweight hand exoskeleton which has been developed in collaboration with Jumpei Arata at Kyushu University. The EMG-controlled device assists patients with moderate to severe hand motor impairment during grasping tasks in rehabilitation training and during activities of daily living. Its soft mechanism allows for grasping of a variety of objects. Thanks to 3D-rapid prototyping, it can be tailored to the each individual user.
Stroke, spinal cord injury and muscular atrophy are just few examples of diseases leading to persistent hand impairment. No matter the cause, the inability to use the affected hand in activities of daily living will affect independence and quality of life. Wearable robotic devices can support the use of the impaired limb in activities of daily living, and provide at-home rehabilitation training. In collaboration with the groups of Prof. Jumpei Arata at Kyushu University, Japan, and Gregory Fischer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA, we have developed a highly compact and lightweight hand exoskeleton.
Our exoskeleton aims to assist patients in grasping tasks during physiotherapy and in activities of daily living such as eating or grooming. Various grasp types, intuitive control based on electromyography (Ryser et al., 2017) and numerous usability features should increase the independence of the user. The current prototype, RELab tenoexo, is fully wearable and consists of a lightweight hand module (148 g) as well as an actuation box including motors, power source and controllers (720 g), all located in a compact backpack. tenoexo’s remote actuation system (Hofmann et al., 2018) and its compliant 3-layered sliding spring mechanism (Arata et al., 2013) ensure safe operation and inherent adaptation to the shape of the grasped objects. The palmar side of the hand is minimally covered to allow for natural somatosensory feedback during object manipulation. The actuated thumb module allows for both opposition and lateral grasps. tenoexo is fabricated to a large extent by 3D-printing technology. With an underlying automatic tailoring algorithm it can be adapted to the individual user within a few minutes. The maximal fingertip force of 4.5 N per finger allows for grasping and lifting of most everyday objects, up to 0.5-liter water bottles.
Our current focus is on the evaluation of tenoexo with several individuals suffering from stroke or spinal cord injury and exploring its potential as both assistive and therapeutic device in these populations. In related projects, we are investigating intention detection through functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG) to allow for cortically-triggered assistance. Our vision is to realize a thought-controlled robotic hand exoskeleton for upper limb therapy and assistance in the clinic and at home.
Pictures (source: ETH Zurich / Stefan Schneller)
- Swiss National Science Foundation through the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Robotics
- Strategic Japanese-Swiss Cooperative Research Program on “Medicine for an Aging Society”
- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
Hofmann, U.A., Bützer, T., Lambercy, O., and Gassert, R. (2018). Design and Evaluation of a Bowden-Cable-Based Remote Actuation System for Wearable Robotics. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 3(3):2101–2108.
Ryser, F., Bützer, T., Held, J.P., Lambercy, O., and Gassert, R. (2017). Fully embedded myoelectric control for a wearable robotic hand orthosis. IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR).
Nycz, Ch., Bützer, T., Lambercy, O., Arata, J., Fischer, G.S., and Gassert, R. (2016). Design and Characterization of a Lightweight and Fully Portable Remote Actuation System for Use with a Hand Exoskeleton. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 1(2):976–983.
Lambercy, O., Schröder, D., Zwicker, S. and Gassert, R. (2013). Design of a thumb exoskeleton for hand rehabilitation (PDF, 1.1 MB). Proc. International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology (i-CREATe).
Arata, J., Ohmoto, K., Gassert, R., Lambercy, O., Fujimoto, H. and Wada, I. (2013). A new hand exoskeleton device for rehabilitation using a three-layered sliding spring mechanism. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pp. 3902–3907.
A research team at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has developed a robotic arm to facilitate self-help and upper-limb mobile rehabilitation for stroke patients after discharge from hospital.
Referred to as a mobile exo-neuro-musculo-skeleton, the robotic arm enables intensive and effective self-help rehabilitation exercise.
The lightweight device is said to be the first of its kind to combine exo-skeleton, soft robot and exo-nerve stimulation technologies. It is intended to cater to the increasing need for outpatient rehabilitation service for stroke patients.
PolyU Department of Biomedical Engineering researcher Hu Xiaoling said: “We are confident that with our mobile exo-neuro-musculo-skeleton, stroke patients can conduct rehabilitation training anytime and anywhere, turning the training into part of their daily activities.
“We hope such flexible self-help training can well supplement traditional outpatient rehabilitation services, helping stroke patients achieve a much better rehabilitation progress.”
Designed to be flexible and easy-to-use, the robotic arm is compact in size, has fast responses and requires a minimal power supply.
It comprises different components for the wrist/hand, elbow, and fingers that can be worn separately or together for various functional training needs. The device can also be connected to a mobile application, where users can manage their training.
The exo-skeleton and soft robot components of the device offer external mechanical forces guided by voluntary muscle signals in order to facilitate the desired joint movement for the patients.
PolyU improved the rehabilitation by adding its Neuro-muscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) technology, which allows the robotic arm to contract user’s muscles when electromyography signals are detected.
When tested in a clinical trial involving ten stroke patients, the robotic arm is reported to have led to better muscle coordination, wrist and finger functions, and lower muscle spasticity following 20 two-hour training sessions.
The researchers plan to collaborate with hospitals and clinics for conducting additional trials.
[Abstract] Improvement of human-machine compatibility of upper-limb rehabilitation exoskeleton using passive joints
- To adapt glenohumeral (GH) movements and improve exoskeletal compatibility, six passive joints were introduced into the connecting interfaces based on optimal configuration principles.
- The optimal configuration of the passive joints can effectively reduce the gravitational influences of the exoskeleton device and the upper extremities.
- A new approach is presented to compensate vertical GH movements.
- A comparison of the theoretical and measured results confirms that the passive joints exhibited good human-machine compatibility for GH movements.
- The wearable comfort of Co-Exos was improved significantly.
The upper-limb rehabilitation exoskeleton is a critical piece of equipment for stroke patients to compensate for deficiencies of manual rehabilitation and reduce physical therapists’ workloads. In this paper, configuration synthesis of an exoskeleton is completed using advanced mechanism theory. To adapt glenohumeral (GH) movements and improve exoskeletal compatibility, six passive joints were introduced into the connecting interfaces based on optimal configuration principles. The optimal configuration of the passive joints can effectively reduce the gravitational influences of the exoskeleton device and the upper extremities. A compatible exoskeleton (Co-Exos) with 11 degrees of freedom was developed while retaining a compact volume. A new approach is presented to compensate vertical GH movements. The theoretical displacements of translational joints were calculated by the kinematic model of the shoulder loop Θs. A comparison of the theoretical and measured results confirms that the passive joints exhibited good human–machine compatibility for GH movements. The hysteresis phenomenon of translational joints appeared in all experiments due to the elasticoplasticity of the upper arm and GH. In comparable experiments, the effective torque of the second active joint was reduced by an average of 41.3% when passive joints were released. The wearable comfort of Co-Exos was thus improved significantly.
[Abstract + References] A Novel Method for Designing and Implementing a Training Device for Hand Rehabilitation – Conference paper
Improvement in hand function to promote functional recovery is an important goal of stroke rehabilitation. However, not all of the rehabilitation products are sufficiently well developed for use in daily life. This paper introduces a newly developed hand training device with a user-centred design concept, which integrates fuzzy-based quality function deployment and morphological analysis method. As a key to rehabilitation product design, the study focuses on how and to what extent certain technical attributes of products are to be met to obtain a higher level of user satisfaction. The paper also tested the function in a local hospital. Test results showed that the hand affected due to a stroke could complete the training task successfully. It also showed that the product met patients’ requirements and has practical significance. The proposed method also can be applied to the development of similar products.
[ARTICLE] Development, Dynamic Modeling, and Multi-Modal Control of a Therapeutic Exoskeleton for Upper Limb Rehabilitation Training – Full Text
[Abstract + References] Design of MobIle Digit Assistive System (MIDAS): A Passive Hand Extension Exoskeleton for Post Stroke Rehabilitation – Conference paper
Stroke often causes flexor hypertonia as well as weakness of finger extension. This limits functionality of the hand degrading independent ability to perform upper limb activities of daily living (ADL’s). Hand rehabilitation post stroke is vital to regaining functionality in the affected limb, leading to improved independence and quality of living. In this paper the development of DigEx and MIDAS passive arm orthoses are detailed. A quick-change cam system is implemented featuring one-handed cam swapping. This provides the ability to vary assistance levels to improve usability and independence for the user. Pulleys and bearings are added to reduce friction caused by mechanical contacts and material failure. Initial tests with the prototype are promising.
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