Posts Tagged robotics

[WEB SITE] Press Release: New Move to Use Robots for Stroke Rehabilitation – scriptproject.eu

Due to the high costs of clinical neuro-rehabilitation, post stroke treatments are limited in all countries to only a few weeks to months after the stroke event. Any system aimed at pro-longing neuro-rehabilitation out of the clinics, for example at patients’ homes; that can use low cost treatments, addresses a major issue in our current health care management systems.

How SCRIPT will contribute:

The SCRIPT project will produce two prototype robotic devices, a passive‐actuated device and one actuated actively, both of which can be used in the stroke patient’s home. Provision of motivating and challenging therapeutic activities using a robotic hand and wrist rehabilitation device at home, will provide a chance for more frequent therapies and interactions. It is thought that such frequent interaction will further influence recovery at chronic phases of stroke rehabilitation.

The principal aims of SCRIPT are to:

• use such rehabilitative technologies at patient’s home to enable better management of chronic stroke patients
• focus on hand and wrist exercise; as this presents the least researched area with the most functional relevance and potential for contribution to personal independence.
• look at differences between passive and active actuated devices.
• provide an educational, motivational and engaging interaction, therefore making a therapy session more enjoyable for patients.
• focus on remote management and support of the patient.
• deduce from summative evaluation in this project, the impact on health and recovery and its potential cost implications.

The SCRIPT multidisciplinary team has existing expertise in all aspects of robot‐mediated therapy, clinical evaluation and interface design and usability. After their discharge from the hospital a patient can begin using the SCRIPT developed robotic tools at home. SCRIPT systems will be adaptive to the user requirements and provide immediate feedback to a patient on their performance. The feedback will also be provided to an “off-site” health care professional with in‐depth considerations for security and confidentiality, who can remotely monitor progress, making adjustments to the support that the device provides.

We believe that the SCRIPT systems will be beneficial to patient recovery and can assist with improving their quality of life. SCRIPT will reduce hospital and home visits for patients & carers, and therefore have a large impact on reducing hospital costs; improving the quality and standard of care.

The SCRIPT project is partially funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme. The project activities will last for 36 months.

The Project partners are:

Coordinator: UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE HIGHER EDUCATION CORPORATION (UH), UK

R.U.ROBOTS LIMITED (RUR), United Kingdom
THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD (USFD), United Kingdom
UNIVERSITEIT TWENTE (UT), Netherlands
ROESSINGH RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT BV (RRD),Netherlands
MOOG BV (MOOG), Netherlands
SAN RAFFAELE S.p.A. (SRS), Italy
USER INTERFACE DESIGN GMBH (UID), Germany

For any further information about project development and implementation, please contact:

Dr.Farshid Amirabdollahian
School of Computer Science
University of Hertfordshire
College Lane
Hatfield Herts AL10 9AB
United Kingdom
Ph: +44-1707286125
Fax:+44-1707-286-423

Further information can be found at:

http://cordis.europa.eu/fp7/ict/
http://ec.europa.eu/information_society

See our links section for other media coverage from the press release

Source: Press Release: New Move to Use Robots for Stroke Rehabilitation | scriptproject.eu

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[VIDEO] Fourier X1 Exoskeleton – Fourier Intelligence – YouTube

Δημοσιεύτηκε στις 23 Μαρ 2017

At Fourier Intelligence, we do not believe these people are fated to sit on the wheelchair in their rest life. To let them stand up, and to allow them to walk again, we started to develop a genuinely new exoskeleton products- The Fourier X1

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[Abstract+References] A Novel Human-Robot Cooperative Method for Upper Extremity Rehabilitation

Abstract

There are a certain number of arm dysfunction patients whose legs could move. Considering the neuronal coupling between arms and legs during locomotion, this paper proposes a novel human-robot cooperative method for upper extremity rehabilitation. Legs motion is considered at the passive rehabilitation training of disabled arm, and its traversed trajectory is represented by the patient trunk motion. A Kinect based vision module, two computers and a WAM robot construct the human-robot cooperative upper extremity rehabilitation system. The vision module is employed to track the position of the subject trunk in horizontal; the WAM robot is used to guide the arm of post-stroke patient to do passive training with the predefined trajectory, and meanwhile the robot follows the patient trunk movement which is tracked by Kinect in real-time. A hierarchical fuzzy control strategy is proposed to improve the position tracking performance and stability of the system, which consists of an external fuzzy dynamic interpolation strategy and an internal fuzzy PD position controller. Four experiments were conducted to test the proposed method and strategy. The experimental results show that the patient felt more natural and comfortable when the human-robot cooperative method was applied; the subject could walk as he/she wished in the visual range of Kinect. The hierarchical fuzzy control strategy performed well in the experiments. This indicates the high potential of the proposed human-robot cooperative method for upper extremity rehabilitation.

Source: A Novel Human-Robot Cooperative Method for Upper Extremity Rehabilitation | SpringerLink

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[ARTICLE] Neuroplastic Changes Following Brain Ischemia and their Contribution to Stroke Recovery: Novel Approaches in Neurorehabilitation – Full Text

Ischemic damage to the brain triggers substantial reorganization of spared areas and pathways, which is associated with limited, spontaneous restoration of function. A better understanding of this plastic remodeling is crucial to develop more effective strategies for stroke rehabilitation. In this review article, we discuss advances in the comprehension of post-stroke network reorganization in patients and animal models. We first focus on rodent studies that have shed light on the mechanisms underlying neuronal remodeling in the perilesional area and contralesional hemisphere after motor cortex infarcts. Analysis of electrophysiological data has demonstrated brain-wide alterations in functional connectivity in both hemispheres, well beyond the infarcted area. We then illustrate the potential use of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques to boost recovery. We finally discuss rehabilitative protocols based on robotic devices as a tool to promote endogenous plasticity and functional restoration.

Introduction

Following an ischemic insult within the motor cortex, one or more body parts contralateral to the infarct result impaired or paretic. The degree of the motor impairment depends on many factors, such as the extent of the infarct, the identity of the damaged region(s) and the effectiveness of the early medical care. Substantial functional recovery can occur in the first weeks after stroke, mainly due to spontaneous mechanisms (Kwakkel et al., 2004; Cramer, 2008; Darling et al., 2011; Ward, 2011; Grefkes and Fink, 2014). About 26% of stroke survivors are able to carry on everyday activities (Activity of Daily Living or ADLs, i.e., eating, drinking, walking, dressing, bathing, cooking, writing) without any help, but another 26% is forced to shelter in a nursing home (Carmichael, 2005). Impairments of upper and lower limbs are particularly disabling as they impact on the degree of independence in ADLs. Overall, a significant percentage of the patients exhibit persistent disability following ischemic attacks. Therefore, it is critical to increase our knowledge of post-stroke neuroplasticity for implementing novel rehabilitative strategies. In this review we summarize data about plastic reorganizations after injury, both in the ipsilesional and contralesional hemisphere. We also describe non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques and robotic devices for stimulating functional recovery in humans and rodent stroke models.

Neuroplasticity After Stroke

The term brain plasticity defines all the modifications in the organization of neural components occurring in the central nervous system during the entire life span of an individual (Sale et al., 2009). Such changes are thought to be highly involved in mechanisms of aging, adaptation to environment and learning. Moreover, neuronal plastic phenomena are likely to be at the basis of adaptive modifications in response to anatomical or functional deficit or brain damage (Nudo, 2006). Ischemic damage causes a dramatic alteration of the entire complex neural network within the affected area. It has been amply demonstrated, by many studies, that the cerebral cortex exhibits spontaneous phenomena of brain plasticity in response to damage (Gerloff et al., 2006; Nudo, 2007). The destruction of neural networks indeed stimulates a reorganization of the connections and this rewiring is highly sensitive to the experience following the damage (Stroemer et al., 1993; Li and Carmichael, 2006). Such plastic phenomena involve particularly the perilesional tissue in the injured hemisphere, but also the contralateral hemisphere, subcortical and spinal regions.

Continue —> Frontiers | Neuroplastic Changes Following Brain Ischemia and their Contribution to Stroke Recovery: Novel Approaches in Neurorehabilitation | Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience

Figure 3. Example of a novel robotic system that integrates functional grasping, active reaching arm training and bimanual tasks. An example of a novel robotic system that integrates functional grasping, active reaching arm training and bimanual tasks, consisting of: (i) Virtual Reality: software applications composed of rehabilitative and evaluation tasks; (ii) TrackHold: robotic device to support the weight of the user’s limb during tasks execution; (iii) Robotic Hand Exos: active hand exoskeleton to assist grasping tasks; and (iv) Handgrip sensors to support the bilateral grasping training and evaluation (modified from Sgherri et al., 2017).

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[ARTICLE] Immediate affective responses of gait training in neurological rehabilitation: A randomized crossover trial – Full Text HTML

Abstract

Objective: To examine the immediate effects of physical therapy and robotic-assisted gait training on affective responses of gait training in neurological rehabilitation.

Design: Randomized crossover trial with blinded observers.

Patients: Sixteen patients with neurological disorders (stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis).

Methods: All patients underwent 2 single treatment sessions: physical therapy and robotic-assisted gait training. Both before and after the treatment sessions, the self-report Mood Survey Scale was used to assess the effects of the treatment on distinct affective states. The subscales of the Mood Survey Scale were tested for pre–post changes and differences in effects between treatments, using non-parametric tests.

Results: Fourteen participants completed the study. Patients showed a significant increase in activation (r = 0.55), elation (r = 0.79), and calmness (r = 0.72), and a significant decrease in anger (r = 0.64) after robotic-assisted gait training compared with physical therapy.

Conclusion: Affective responses might be positively influenced by robotic-assisted gait training, which may help to overcome motivational problems during the rehabilitation process in neurological patients.

Introduction

Patients with neurological impairment are known to have reduced quality of life and increased risk for depressive symptoms, which may hinder their ability to perform daily rehabilitation programmes, such as physical therapy (PT) or robotic-assisted gait training (RAGT) (1). During the continuum of rehabilitation it is necessary to consider factors such as choice and enjoyment in order to determine specifically how an individual would participate in rehabilitation programmes. The inclusion of participation scales is recommended when assessing the outcome of rehabilitation programmes (2). According to Self-Determination Theory (3), positive affective responses (e.g. activation, elation, or calmness) are connected with high intrinsic motivation and are an important regulation process in human behaviour. Therefore affective responses to the treatment sessions, as defined by Ekkekakis & Petruzello (4), might be important predictors of motivation, adoption, and maintenance of treatment regimes in the rehabilitation process.

Fatigue is a common and distressing complaint among people with neurological impairment (5). Patients often are afraid that engagement in exercise may increase fatigue (6). In patients with traumatic brain injury, “lack of energy” was rated as 1 of the top 5 problems for participation (7). Therefore it is important to emphasize that it is more likely that a higher level of energy will be achieved after exercise (8, 9). Although not yet a widely recognized determinant of exercise behaviour, affective valence is viewed in psychology and behavioural economics as one of the major factors in human decision-making (10). Findings from exercise psychology have demonstrated that the affective components of pleasure and activation might be crucial for bridging the intention–behaviour gap at the beginning of engagement in exercise (10). Regular participation in physical activity, in the long-term, may be mediated by an individual’s belief in the exercise–psychological wellbeing association. It may also lead to anti-depressive effects (11). Both PT and RAGT can be considered as forms of physical activity; therefore one might speculate that the effects mentioned above could be transferred to neurological patients. While increases in energy and mood in response to a single bout of moderate intensity exercise have been shown in healthy people and several risk-groups (6, 8, 9), no such study has been carried out involving neurological patients.

To our knowledge, only 2 studies concerning RAGT and psychological effects have been published. Koenig et al. (12) described a method to observe mental engagement during RAGT. Recently, Calabro et al. (13) reported positive long-term effects of RAGT on mood and coping strategies in a case study. To our knowledge, apart from these studies, affective responses have not been researched in PT or RAGT.

Thus, the aim of this study was to determine, for patients with neurological impairment: (i) whether a single session of PT and RAGT has immediate effects on affective responses (e.g. activation, elation, or calmness) and; (ii) whether possible affective responses differ between PT and RAGT.

Continue —> Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine – Immediate affective responses of gait training in neurological rehabilitation: A randomized crossover trial – HTML

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[Abstract] Ethical Considerations in Providing an Upper Limb Exoskeleton Device for Stroke Patients

Abstract

The health care system needs to face new and advanced medical technologies that can improve the patients’ quality of life by replacing lost or decreased functions. In stroke patients, the disabilities that follow cerebral lesions may impair the mandatory daily activities of an independent life. These activities are dependent mostly on the patient’s upper limb function so that they can carry out most of the common activities associated with a normal life. Therefore, an upper limb exoskeleton device for stroke patients can contribute a real improvement of quality of their life. The ethical problems that need to be considered are linked to the correct adjustment of the upper limb skills in order to satisfy the patient’s expectations, but within physiological limits. The debate regarding the medical devices dedicated to neurorehabilitation is focused on their ability to be beneficial to the patient’s life, keeping away damages, injustice, and risks.

Source: Ethical Considerations in Providing an Upper Limb Exoskeleton Device for Stroke Patients – Medical Hypotheses

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[ARTICLE] Weight compensation characteristics of Armeo®Spring exoskeleton: implications for clinical practice and research – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Armeo®Spring exoskeleton is widely used for upper extremity rehabilitation; however, weight compensation provided by the device appears insufficiently characterized to fully utilize it in clinical and research settings.

Methods

Weight compensation was quantified by measuring static force in the sagittal plane with a load cell attached to the elbow joint of Armeo®Spring. All upper spring settings were examined in 5° increments at the minimum, maximum, and two intermediate upper and lower module length settings, while keeping the lower spring at minimum. The same measurements were made for minimum upper spring setting and maximum lower spring setting at minimum and maximum module lengths. Weight compensation was plotted against upper module angles, and slope was analyzed for each condition.

Results

The Armeo®Spring design prompted defining the slack angle and exoskeleton balance angle, which, depending on spring and length settings, divide the operating range into different unloading and loading regions. Higher spring tensions and shorter module lengths provided greater unloading (≤6.32 kg of support). Weight compensation slope decreased faster with shorter length settings (minimum length = −0.082 ± 0.002 kg/°; maximum length = −0.046 ± 0.001 kg/°) independent of spring settings.

Conclusions

Understanding the impact of different settings on the Armeo®Spring weight compensation should help define best clinical practice and improve fidelity of research.

Continue —> Weight compensation characteristics of Armeo®Spring exoskeleton: implications for clinical practice and research | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

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[Abstract] Robotic Devices to Enhance Human Movement Performance.

Abstract

Robotic exoskeletons and bionic prostheses have moved from science fiction to science reality in the last decade. These robotic devices for assisting human movement are now technically feasible given recent advancements in robotic actuators, sensors, and computer processors. However, despite the ability to build robotic hardware that is wearable by humans, we still do not have optimal controllers to allow humans to move with coordination and grace in synergy with the robotic devices. We consider the history of robotic exoskeletons and bionic limb prostheses to provide a better assessment of the roadblocks that have been overcome and to gauge the roadblocks that still remain. There is a strong need for kinesiologists to work with engineers to better assess the performance of robotic movement assistance devices. In addition, the identification of new performance metrics that can objectively assess multiple dimensions of human performance with robotic exoskeletons and bionic prostheses would aid in moving the field forward. We discuss potential control approaches for these robotic devices, with a preference for incorporating feedforward neural signals from human users to provide a wider repertoire of discrete and adaptive rhythmic movements.

Source: Robotic Devices to Enhance Human Movement Performance: Kinesiology Review: Vol 6, No 1

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[VIDEO] Device to help stroke patients recover hand movement – YouTube

Δημοσιεύτηκε στις 19 Οκτ 2016

Neuroscientist Professor Stuart Baker describes a new electronic device which could help stroke patients recover movement and control of their hand.

They believe this could revolutionise treatment for patients, providing a wearable solution to the effects of stroke.

The device which is the size of a mobile phone, delivers a series of small electrical shocks followed by an audible click to strengthen brain and spinal connections.

To read more about this ground breaking research and the device visit our website http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/news/2016/…

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[WEB PAGE] ‘Knitted muscles’ provide power

January 25, 2017
'Knitted muscles' provide power

Conceptual model of a textile exoskeleton with the textile actuator (black) on an elastic elbow sleeve (white). Credit: Thor Balkhed/Linköping University

Researchers have coated normal fabric with an electroactive material, and in this way given it the ability to actuate in the same way as muscle fibres. The technology opens new opportunities to design “textile muscles” that could, for example, be incorporated into clothes, making it easier for people with disabilities to move. The study, which has been carried out by researchers at Linköping University and the University of Borås in Sweden, has been published in Science Advances.

Developments in robot technology and prostheses have been rapid, due to technological breakthroughs. For example, devices known as “” that act as an external skeleton and muscles have been developed to reinforce a person’s own mobility.

“Enormous and impressive advances have been made in the development of exoskeletons, which now enable people with disabilities to walk again. But the existing technology looks like rigid robotic suits. It is our dream to create exoskeletons that are similar to items of clothing, such as “running tights” that you can wear under your normal clothes. Such device could make it easier for older persons and those with impaired mobility to walk,” says Edwin Jager, associate professor at Division of Sensor and Actuator Systems, Linköping University.

Current exoskeletons are driven by motors or pressurised air and develop power in this way. In the new study, the researchers have instead used the advantages provided by lightweight and flexible fabrics, and developed what can be described as “textile muscles”. The researchers have used mass-producible fabric and coated it with an electroactive material. It is in this special coating that the force in the textile muscles arises. A low voltage applied to the fabric causes the electroactive material to change volume, causing the yarn or fibres to increase in length. The properties of the textile are controlled by its woven or knitted structure. Researchers can exploit this principle, depending on how the textile is to be used.

'Knitted muscles' provide power

A photograph of a knitted textile actuator (or textile muscle) including the electrical and mechanical contacts made of copper tape. Credit: Thor Balkhed/Linköping University

“If we weave the fabric, for example, we can design it to produce a high force. In this case, the extension of the fabric is the same as that of the individual threads. But what happens is that the force developed is much higher when the threads are connected in parallel in the weave. This is the same as in our muscles. Alternatively, we can use an extremely stretchable knitted structure in order to increase the effective extension,” says Nils-Krister Persson, associate professor in the Smart Textiles Initiative at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås.

The researchers show in the article that the textile muscles can be used in a simple robot device to lift a small weight. They demonstrate that the technology enables new ways to design and manufacture devices known as “actuators”, which – like motors and biological muscles – can exert a force.

'Knitted muscles' provide power

From left to right: A single yarn coated with the electroactive polymer (polypyrrole); a knitted textile actuator (or textile muscle) including the electrical and mechanical contacts made of copper tape; and a piece of knitwear coated with the electroactive polymer (polypyrrole). Credit: Thor Balkhed/Linköping University

“Our approach may make it possible in the long term to manufacture actuators in a simple way and hopefully at a reasonable cost by using already existing textile production technologies. What’s more interesting, however, is that it may open completely new applications in the future, such as integrating textile muscles into items of clothing,” says Edwin Jager.

'Knitted muscles' provide power

Photo of the knitted textile actuator mounted in the force measurement setup. On the top the actuator is mounted to the lever arm of the force sensor using a small electrically insulated hook. On the bottom it is both electrically and mechanically connected in a beaker that contains the liquid electrolyte. A second, auxiliary electrode (the piece of gold coated plastic) is also inserted in the container to close the electrical circuit. Credit: Thor Balkhed/Linköping University

Explore further: ‘Space cloth’ to revolutionise textiles industry

More information: “Knitting and weaving artificial muscles,” Science Advances, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600327 , http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/1/e1600327

Source: ‘Knitted muscles’ provide power

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