Posts Tagged robotic glove
[WEB SITE] Robotic glove invented by NUS researchers helps patients restore hand movements – Medical News Today
Lightweight and soft, EsoGlove detects muscle signals and guides the hand to perform rehabilitation exercises.
Patients who have lost their hand functions due to injuries or nerve-related conditions, such as stroke and muscular dystrophy, now have a chance of restoring their hand movements by using a new lightweight and smart rehabilitation device called EsoGlove developed by a research team from the National University of Singapore (NUS).
Made of soft materials, this novel device is an improvement from conventional robotic hand rehabilitation devices as it has sensors to detect muscle signals and conforms to the natural movements of the human hand, reducing discomfort and risk of injury. This robotic glove is also compact and portable, so patients who are recovering at home or are bedridden could carry out rehabilitation exercises with greater ease and comfort.
Image Credit: National University of Singapore
Assistant Professor Raye Yeow from the NUS Department of Biomedical Engineering, who specialises in soft wearable robotics and is a key member of the research team, explained, “For patients to restore their hand functions, they need to go through rehabilitation programmes that involve repetitive tasks such as gripping and releasing objects. These exercises are often labour intensive and are confined to clinical settings. EsoGlove is designed to enable patients to carry out rehabilitation exercises in various settings – in the hospital wards, rehabilitation centres and even at home. Equipped with technology that can detect and interpret muscle signals, EsoGlove can also assist patients in daily activities, for instance by guiding the fingers to perform tasks such as holding a cup.”
The NUS team comprises Asst Prof Yeow, his clinical collaborator Dr Lim Jeong Hoon from the NUS Department of Medicine, as well as PhD candidate Mr Yap Hong Kai and undergraduate student Mr Benjamin Ang Wee Keong, who are both from the NUS Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Greater comfort and convenience
Conventional robotic devices for hand rehabilitation consist of rigid electromechanical components, which are heavy and uncomfortable for patients.
“EsoGlove is unique as it is made entirely of soft components and does not require complicated mechanical setups. The main body of the glove is made of fabric, with soft actuators embedded. It also has adjustable Velcro straps to cater to different hand sizes,” Asst Prof Yeow said.
EsoGlove is connected to a pump-valve control system that modulates the air pressure which directs the soft actuators. When the actuators are pressurised by air, they apply distributed forces along the length of the finger to promote finger movements, such as bending, extending and twisting, to support different hand motions. This novel method does not constrain the finger’s natural movements, unlike conventional devices that make use of rigid links and joints. Each actuator also functions independently, providing assistance to each finger separately.
The robotic glove can be applied in a table-top version for bedridden patients, as well as a waist-belt version for patients who are mobile and recovering at home.
Smart control and assistance
EsoGlove uses an intuitive control mechanism that involves the coupling of electromyography and radio-frequency identification technologies. With this feature, the robotic glove can detect a patient’s intent to perform a hand action on a particular object, such as picking up a pen or holding a mug. By interpreting the muscle signals of the wearer, the robotic glove can help the patient move the fingers to accomplish the specific tasks, involving objects of various shapes and sizes, in an intuitive manner.
Said Dr Lim, who is also a Senior Consultant at the National University Hospital’s Division of Neurology, “With this unique approach, we can develop therapeutic tools using safe and wearable robotic technology. Patients can take the initiative in their own rehabilitative process, rather than being passive recipients of therapists’ intervention.”
“As the soft actuators in the EsoGlove are made from non-ferromagnetic materials, they are suitable for use in functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. We hope that the robotic glove can contribute towards investigating the brain’s activity in relation to motor performance during hand rehabilitation, and unravel the functional effects of soft rehabilitation robotics on brain stimulation,” added Mr Yap, who is also from the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering.
Clinical studies and commercialisation
Asst Prof Yeow and his team plan to start pilot clinical studies at the National University Hospital in February 2016 to validate the device’s performance, as well as to obtain patient and clinical feedback so as to further refine the design of the device. The studies will take about six months, involving 30 patients.
The team has also filed a patent for EsoGlove, and will start a spin-off company to commercialise the device.
The latest in assistive technology is a lightweight glove that helps patients with limited mobility grab and pick up objects.
Engineers at Harvard have developed a soft robotic glove that allows people with limited hand mobility to grasp and pick up objects. The device could help the estimated 6.8 million people in the United States who have hand mobility issues, whether from a degenerative condition, stroke, or old age.
Nine patients with ALS, muscular dystrophy, incomplete spinal cord injuries, or complications from a stroke have tested the glove so far.
The goal is to restore independence for people who have lost the ability to grasp, says Conor Walsh, a professor at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. The project was led by Panagiotis Polygerinos, a technology development fellow in Walsh’s lab. Walsh thinks that within three years the glove will be “suitable for use in the medical environment.”
For hand mobility difficulties, existing robots with hard exoskeletons can act as assistive devices and guide patients through rehabilitation exercises. But a soft robotic glove aligns more flexibly with a patient’s joints, plays nice with soft tissue like human skin, and, since it is much lighter, could eventually be taken home instead of being limited to use in a clinic.
The glove could give patients “the dexterity that they need to perform essential activities of daily life,” says Steve Kelly, president and COO of Myomo, a developer of assistive robotic devices for the arm and hand, who was not involved in the project.
The glove is mechanically programmed to execute a single task, performed with a bending motion of the fingers and a bending and twisting motion of the thumb. The fingers are essentially silicone balloons—pink, rubbery things—with yellow fibers crisscrossed inside. When pressurized water is pumped into the glove from an attached waist pack, the fibers keep the balloon from expanding, so their arrangement programs the finger to bend in a particular way. For example, there are fewer fibers at the knuckles, which induces the finger to bend there.
Polygerinos let me try it out. The outside of the glove is made of a soft neoprene-like fabric, the fingers covered in a wormlike series of clear rubbery rings for grip. I slipped my left hand into the glove, and he flipped the switches. The motor hummed like a belt sander, and without any help from me, my fingers and thumb curled together in a grasping motion. It felt as if someone else’s hand were underneath mine—someone stronger, moving my fingers for me. The glove is customized to fit a patient’s hand so that the joints align properly, and this glove was a little too big for me, but still, it felt comfortable.
“It’s really simple, because all you do is pressurize it and you get this nice complex motion,” says Walsh. “The downside is, it’s that one motion all the time.”
Though that is a limitation, grasping is extremely important and many patients need help with it, says MIT professor Neville Hogan, who creates robots to rehabilitate stroke patients. “Most neurological disorders cause muscle weakness, which leads to impaired grasp strength,” he says. However, stroke patients’ hand muscles are often clenched by default, so Hogan says they often have the most trouble opening their hands. The team says the glove does not currently have enough force to open the hand if the muscles are clenched, but they hope to add that functionality in the future.
They also want to make the device lighter. The glove weighs 10 ounces, and the waist pack containing the battery, controllers, sensors, pump, and water weighs about seven pounds (twice the weight of a 13-inch MacBook Pro).
The glove is operated either by flipping a switch or by voice command. The next step is to design a glove that can move when it detects signals in the patient’s own arm muscles, so that patients can control it more intuitively. Designing such a control system is tricky. Even patients with the same condition have individual variation, and patients have good days and bad days. “So you can go one day, try your electrodes—signals are perfect, you can operate the glove. You go two days later, something is wrong and you don’t get the same signals again,” says Polygerinos.
Kelly thinks the control mechanism will be key. “Whoever has the best control will have the best commercial solution,” he says. “It’s probably reasonable in the five-ish-year time frame to be able to get this as an impaired person,” he estimates.
Asked if he can remember the best thing a patient has said when trying the glove, Polygerinos looks thoughtful, and then his face lights up. “Oh my God, I can pinch again!”
Having achieved promising results in proof-of-concept prototyping and experimental testing, a soft robotic glove under development by Conor Walsh and a team of engineers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering could someday help people suffering from loss of hand motor control regain some of their independence.
Most patients with partial or total loss of their hand motor abilities due to muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or incomplete spinal cord injury report a greatly reduced quality of life because of their inability to perform many activities of daily living. Tasks often taken for granted by the able-bodied — buttoning a shirt, picking up a telephone, using cooking and eating utensils — become frustrating, nearly impossible feats due to reduced gripping strength and motor control.
The stage is now set for that to change, however, thanks to Walsh’s expertise in soft, wearable robotic systems and a development approach that involves the glove’s potential end users in every step of testing and development. The holistic approach ensures that technology development goes beyond simple functionality to incorporate social and psychological elements of design that promote seamless adoption by its end users.
Continue —> A new grasp on robotic glove | Harvard Gazette.
(Reuters) – A robotic glove designed to help stroke sufferers regain movement in their hands and rebuild their muscles has been developed as part of a collaborative project in Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy.
The device is called SCRIPT (Supervised Care and Rehabilitation Involving Personal Tele-robotics), and has been developed by researchers at the University of Hertfordshire and a team of European partners.
SCRIPT has been designed to facilitate repetitive movement and exercise of the hand and wrist of patients, both within the chronic stage of illness and after they have been released from hospital. The gloves are fitted with sensors that allow patients’ progress to be monitored and assessed by both patient and therapist.
Thirty-four volunteers have been tested using the glove in tandem with specially-designed computer games, and results have proved encouraging. Double stroke survivor Shani Shamah, a former financial services worker, wasn’t one of those involved, but she has twice used the device to help provide feedback to SCRIPT co-ordinator Dr. Farshid Amirabdollahian, who devised the glove.
Shamah was not expected to survive her injuries after a second stroke within a matter of days in April 2013 left her with bleeding on the brain. “I lost my speech, I lost the use of the whole of my left side, leg, arm, shoulder, hand, and through intensive physio in a special rehab unit I was re-taught to walk and to use my arm and hand, although I didn’t have the advantage of having the equipment we’ve been showing here today,” said Shamah.
A stroke can force the sufferer’s hand into a semi-permanent clenched posture, with a flexed wrist. The project aims to counteract such injuries by providing patients with repetitive, fun, exercises performed while wearing the glove.
“The hand and wrist are in an abnormal position, the hand is fully closed, and the wrist is flexed, and what we want to do is to open the hand and extend the wrist, so that people can regain a normal posture of the hand and wrist and then they can practise the therapy,” he said. “The glove that we designed provides some offset forces, so the fingers are pulled open and the wrist is pulled into full extension. With this in mind then people can start practising without those abnormal movements that are forcing the hand closed.”
The device records the patient’s performance and sends this to a therapist, enabling them to tailor treatment remotely. It also frees up a therapist to treat multiple patients, while allowing recovering sufferers to rehabilitate themselves in the comfort of their own home, with the aim of increasing their time spent on rehabilitation.
According to Naila Rahman, SCRIPT integrator, “the advantage of remote monitoring of the user’s use of the system is that it allows the user to train in their own time. The trainer can train first thing in the morning, late in the evening when they come home from work basically, and they’re not tied up to the therapist’s availability.”
Amirabdollahian is an expert in rehabilitation robotics and assistive technologies and an associate professor in adaptive systems at the university. He says that in addition to the benefits of patients using the glove at home, the remote assessment of computerized data by therapists allows treatment to be easily individualized.
“This adaptivity is a very important function because it allows us to have the system usable by people with severe stroke but also people with moderate and less moderate stroke,” he added.
Shamah recommends the therapy for stroke survivors like herself, and says it is far more interesting than the often boring exercises she endured on her own road to recovery.
“I think it would be great, it really would be. I’m only sorry I didn’t have the advantage of having this when I was rehab,” said Shamah. “It’s very boring when you just sit at a table and take out a ball from a box and put it down on the table next to you, and playing with theraputty, rolling it backwards and forwards, whereas here you can actually see like with the fruit game you could pick up the fruit, put it in the basket, and that can be quite an achievement. So I think for general use it would be brilliant, for therapy use.”
The prototype was developed as part of a 4.6 million euro (4.9 million USD) project undertaken by the University of Herts team, alongside project partners R.U. Robots Limited, the University of Sheffield, Twente University, Roessingh Research and Development BV, MOOG BV, San Raffaele S.p.A, and User Interface Design GMBH. It was part-funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme.
Amirabdollahian says outside investment is needed in order for the final design to be ready within two years, and at a cost of less than 10,000 USD per glove it will be an affordable healthcare option for public hospitals.
[ARTICLE] Creating gesture controlled games for robot-assisted stroke rehabilitation – Full Text PDF
Regular training exercises are fundamental to regain functional use of arm and hand control after a stroke. With the SCRIPT system, the patient can practice hand excercising independently at home by playing gesture controlled games using a robotic glove (orthosis). The system could offer prolonged rehabilitation out of the clinic, with low cost treatment. In the first version of the system (Script 1), a set of therapeutic games were developed within the project and tested in formative and summative evaluations. The main findings indicate that motivational aspects play a major role. The main issues detected concerns the challenge for the patients to understand and remember the correct gestures. Following a User Centered Design process, these findings helped to improve the new version of the system (Script 2).
Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire and a team of European partners have developed a prototype of a robotic glove which stroke suffers can use in their own home to support rehabilitation and personal independence in receiving therapies.
At the chronic stages of stroke, patients are not likely to be receiving treatment but they continue to live with some impairments — the glove’s goal is to provide therapies to target these impairments.
Over the past three years the team developed two prototype robotic gloves, which facilitate repetitive movement and exercise of the hand and wrist. The device also records the patient’s performance and sends this to a therapist for tailoring treatment remotely and arranging follow-up.
Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian, an expert in rehabilitation robotics and assistive technologies and a senior lecturer in adaptive systems at the University’s School of Computer Science co-ordinated the €4,643,983 project called SCRIPT (Supervised Care and Rehabilitation Involving Personal Tele-robotics).
Dr Amirabdollahian said: “This project focused on therapies for stroke patients at home. Our goal was to make motivating therapies available to people to practise at home using this system, hoping that they have a vested interest to practise and will do so. We tried this system with 30 patients and found that patients indeed practised at home, on average around 100 minutes each week, and some showed clinical improvements in their hand and arm function.”
The overall aim of the project was to provide an educational, motivational and engaging interaction, making a more positive therapy session for the patient, while providing feedback to them and their health care professionals. Given the results achieved, the team is now considering a follow-up project to improve recovery outcomes, while also searching for funding to turn this prototype into a product for home rehabilitation.
The team have passed the proof-of-concept stage and are now looking at getting the glove into production.
Patients struggling to move their fingers after an accident or a stroke, will soon be given a helping hand… from a robotic glove.
Developed by Italian engineers, the Gloreha glove can be used on either hand during rehabilitation exercises and takes about three minute to fit.
It is powered by a series of pneumatic cylinders running along the back of the hand and each digit.
This allows gentle pressure to be put on the hand to guide it during exercises but also for the person to move their hand independently to recreate gestures such as pointing and grasping.
The right move: The sensors on the robotic glove are linked with software showing 3D animations. This helps the patient and medical staff calibrate the correct treatment
Electronic sensors in the glove are linked to computer software that runs through a series of 3D animated hand movements. The patient then follows the virtual hand through various assisted exercises.
Carlo Seneci, president of developers Idrogenet, told Mail Online: ‘This is different from a “robot” simply moving a patient’s fingers.
‘A patient can follow the movement of his hand in real-time and try to replicate the movement.
‘This is a key factor for patients affected by strokes or spinal injuries. They almost need to rehabilitate the brain more than they do the hand.’…