Posts Tagged wearable

[ARTICLE] A wearable somatosensory teaching device with adjustable operating force for gait rehabilitation training robot – Full Text

A novel wearable multi-joint teaching device for lower-limb gait rehabilitation is presented, intended to facilitate the adjustment of training modes in unique requirements of patients. A physiotherapist manipulates this active teaching device to plan the personalized gait trajectory and to construct the individual training mode. A haptic interaction joint module that stems from the friction braking principle is outlined here, with an adjustable operating force exerted by pneumatic film cylinders. With dual functions of somatosensory perception and teaching, it provides physiotherapist with a smooth and comfortable operation and a kind of force telepresence. The main contents are elaborated including the structural design and pneumatic proportional servo system of the teaching device and the joint module, operating force control principle, and gravity compensation method. Through performance tests of the prototype, the adjustable operating force has been demonstrated with the characteristics of good linearity and response speed. The results of master–slave control experiments preliminarily verified the effectiveness of the control approach. The research on the novel somatosensory teaching device with master–slave teaching mode has provided a concise, convenient, and efficient means for the clinical application of lower-limb rehabilitation robots, presumably as a new idea and technical supports for the future design.

Based on the neuroplasticity principle,1 a lower-limb rehabilitation training robot is a kind of automatic equipment that can recover or rebuild neural pathways2,3 for patients with motor dysfunction. The clinical presentation of a spinal cord injury (SCI) or a stroke comprises motor weakness or complete paresis, complete or partial loss of sensory function. The Swedish therapist Brunnstrom proposed the famous six-recovery-stage theory. Based on this theory, the training has different aims in the early stage of rehabilitation (flaccid paralysis stage), middle stage of rehabilitation (spasm stage), and later stage of rehabilitation (recovery stage). One major principle of neurological rehabilitation is that of motor learning. According to the principle of neural plasticity, repetitive and specific training tasks, which make the cerebral cortex learn and store the correct movement patterns, are important and effective. During rehabilitation, patients have to relearn motor tasks in order to overcome disability and limitations in the completion of daily activities. This is the theoretical basis of rehabilitation treatment. For a robot, the control strategy is provided diversely in different stages of rehabilitation to eliminate abnormal movement patterns. In the early rehabilitation, the passive training mode is usually adopted to help patients according to the predetermined trajectory and improve exercise capacity and reduce muscle atrophy. Then the active assist training mode begins for the patients of the middle recovery stage with moderate strength and relieving muscle spasm. In the later rehabilitation stage, the active resist training mode can be used to encourage patients to participate initiatively. The effect and importance of rehabilitation robots have been internationally recognized.48

Giving different state of an illness exhibited by hemiparetic individuals and the different training modes as mentioned above, the gait rehabilitation training robot primarily entails customized designing the parameters including movement trajectory, training speed and strength, and real-time perceiving, adjusting, and controlling. Lower-limb exoskeleton mechanism features of many degrees of freedom, together with the individual and condition differences of patients, so the problems are highlighted about how to accurately plan the correct gait trajectory and how to adjust training modes on time according to the progression. These issues become one of the research foci and technical difficulties of rehabilitation robot.

Most of the typical lower-limb rehabilitation robots in the world are autonomously controlled. The gait training mode planning for them is summarized in two methods, that is, preselected by a physiotherapist and dynamically adjusted by the algorithm. For some representative examples, the horizontal rehabilitation training robot Motion Maker9 can automatically guide patients along a preselected trajectory to perform passive flexion movement training on hip, knee, and ankle joints. The Lokomat1012 is a kind of body-weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) robot that adjusts the assisted power or reference trajectory by the impedance algorithm according to the patient interaction force. Patients can be made available to active and passive training mode. In the case of the lower extremity powered exoskeleton (LOPES) gait rehabilitation robot,13,14 limb reference trajectory is generated by instantaneous mapping with the healthy limb movement. The feasibility and functional improvements achieved in response to the emergence of such self-control rehabilitation robot; however, the existing technological bottleneck is obvious, that is, the limited adaptability of training mode.

The objective of this research is to develop a gait trajectory teaching device, with which the physiotherapist can directly and professionally teach to the robot and therefore present complex actions and adjust training modes as needed. Through master–slave teaching method, such system may provide the adaptability of the robot-mediated training and improve the treatment quality and efficiency, and decrease the difficulties in control algorithm study and the contradiction between the complex algorithms and real-time control.

Because of the more elaborate actions of the upper extremity and hand, teaching and playback technology is first applied to upper-limb rehabilitation training robot, for example, the flexible force feedback master–slave exoskeleton manipulator developed by America General Electric Company,15 the wearable master–slave training equipment of upper limbs driven by pneumatic artificial muscles in Okayama University in Japan,16 and the remotely operated upper-limb training robot of Southeast University in China.17 But there are fewer applications for lower-limb rehabilitation training. A single-joint ankle-foot orthoses designed by Canada, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration is introduced in the literature.18The main cylinder driven by a motor controlled the slave cylinder to drive the orthoses. As described in a literature,19 a wearable master–slave lower-limb training robot driven by pneumatic artificial muscle achieves the teaching and training for the knee and ankle rehabilitation by sensors feeding back the trainer joint torque to the main control mechanism. In most of the studies mentioned above, the limitations existing in master–slave teaching for the lower-limb rehabilitation training robot can be summarized as follows: (1) the teaching device has the characteristics of complex structure, large quality and high inertia, so the physiotherapist is laborious and feels fatigue quickly, (2) the coordinate of the multi joints is demanded highly which may lead to the insufficient operating smoothness of the device, and (3) the feedback joint torque cannot be directly perceived by the physiotherapist but only as the control signal for the device.

In light of the above limitations, a novel multi-joint wearable teaching device is developed with adjustable operating force, which is exerted by light film cylinders. Based on the gravity compensation control method, a physiotherapist operates the teaching device to plan training trajectory smoothly and comfortably while also perceive the scene interaction force came from patients. In this manner, our research solved the existing problems, namely, the weight, the difficult manipulation of the teaching and the less force feedback to the physiotherapist. He operates the teaching device with the master–slave mode may provide various training modes fast and intuitively. The force telepresence from patients makes physiotherapist better controlling the training intensity and realizing the individual rehabilitation training consultation.

In this article, we elaborate five major contents that have been derived from this research as follows: master–slave teaching system solution, structural design of the multi-joint wearable master teaching device, operating force regulation principle and gravity compensation method, operating force regulation performance experiments, and master–slave control experiments.

Figure 1. System overall scheme.

Continue —> A wearable somatosensory teaching device with adjustable operating force for gait rehabilitation training robotAdvances in Mechanical Engineering – Bingjing Guo, Jianhai Han, Xiangpan Li, Peng Wu, Yanbin Zhang, Aimin You, 2017


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[ARTICLE] A novel generation of wearable supernumerary robotic fingers to compensate the missing grasping abilities in hemiparetic upper limb – Full Text PDF


This contribution will focus on the design, analysis, fabrication, experimental characterization and evaluation of a family of prototypes of robotic extra fingers that can be used as grasp compensatory devices for hemiparetic upper limb.

The devices are the results of experimental sessions with chronic stroke patients and consultations with clinical experts. All the devices share a common principle of work which consists in opposing to the paretic hand/wrist so to restrain the motion of an object.

Robotic supernumerary fingers can be used by chronic stroke patients to compensate for grasping in several Activities of Daily Living (ADL) with a particular focus on bimanual tasks.

The devices are designed to be extremely portable and wearable. They can be wrapped as bracelets when not being used, to further reduce the encumbrance. The motion of the robotic devices can be controlled using an Electromyography (EMG) based interface embedded in a cap. The interface allows the user to control the device motion by contracting the frontalis muscle. The performance characteristics of the devices have been measured through experimental set up and the shape adaptability has been confirmed by grasping various objects with different shapes. We tested the devices through qualitative experiments based on ADL involving a group of chronic stroke patients in collaboration with by the Rehabilitation Center of the Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Senese.

The prototypes successfully enabled the patients to complete various bi-manual tasks. Results show that the proposed robotic devices improve the autonomy of patients in ADL and allow them to complete tasks which were previously impossible to perform.

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[Abstract] The eWrist — A wearable wrist exoskeleton with sEMG-based force control for stroke rehabilitation.


Chronic wrist impairment is frequent following stroke and negatively impacts everyday life. Rehabilitation of the dysfunctional limb is possible but requires extensive training and motivation. Wearable training devices might offer new opportunities for rehabilitation. However, few devices are available to train wrist extension even though this movement is highly relevant for many upper limb activities of daily living. As a proof of concept, we developed the eWrist, a wearable one degree-of-freedom powered exoskeleton which supports wrist extension training. Conceptually one might think of an electric bike which provides mechanical support only when the rider moves the pedals, i.e. it enhances motor activity but does not replace it. Stroke patients may not have the ability to produce overt movements, but they might still be able to produce weak muscle activation that can be measured via surface electromyography (sEMG). By combining force and sEMG-based control in an assist-as-needed support strategy, we aim at providing a training device which enhances activity of the wrist extensor muscles in the context of daily life activities, thereby, driving cortical reorganization and recovery. Preliminary results show that the integration of sEMG signals in the control strategy allow for adjustable assistance with respect to a proxy measurement of corticomotor drive.

Source: The eWrist — A wearable wrist exoskeleton with sEMG-based force control for stroke rehabilitation – IEEE Xplore Document

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[Abstract+References] Wearable Rehabilitation Training System for Upper Limbs Based on Virtual Reality – Conference paper


In this paper, wearable rehabilitation training system for the upper limb based on virtual reality is designed for patients with upper extremity hemiparesis. The six-axis IMU sensor is used to collect the joint training angles of the shoulder and elbow. In view of the patient’s shoulder and elbow joint active rehabilitation training, the virtual rehabilitation training games based on the Unity3D engine are designed to complete different tasks. Its purpose is to increase the interest of rehabilitation training. The data obtained from the experiment showed that the movement ranges of the shoulder and elbow joint reached the required ranges in the rehabilitation training game. The basic function of the system is verified by the experiments, which can provide effective rehabilitation training for patients with upper extremity hemiparesis.




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Source: Wearable Rehabilitation Training System for Upper Limbs Based on Virtual Reality | SpringerLink

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[Abstract] A soft robotic supernumerary finger and a wearable cutaneous finger interface to compensate the missing grasping capabilities in chronic stroke patients


Stroke survivors who experience severe hemipare-sis often cannot completely recover the use of their hand and arm. Many of the rehabilitation devices currently available are designed to increase the functional recovery right after the stroke when, in some cases, biological restoring and plastic reorganization of the central nervous system can take place. However, this is not always the case. Even after extensive therapeutic interventions, the probability of regaining functional use of the impaired hand is low. In this respect, we present a novel robotic system composed of a supernumerary robotic finger and a wearable cutaneous finger interface. The supernumerary finger is used to help grasping objects while the wearable interface provides information about the forces exerted by the robotic finger on the object being held. We carried out two experiments, enrolling 16 healthy subjects and 2 chronic stroke patients. Results showed that using the supernumerary finger greatly improved the grasping capabilities of the subjects. Moreover, providing cutaneous feedback significantly improved the performance of the considered task and was preferred by all subjects.

Source: A soft robotic supernumerary finger and a wearable cutaneous finger interface to compensate the missing grasping capabilities in chronic stroke patients – IEEE Xplore Document

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[Abstract+References] Toward wearable supernumerary robotic fingers to compensate missing grasping abilities in hemiparetic upper limb 

This paper presents the design, analysis, fabrication, experimental characterization, and evaluation of two prototypes of robotic extra fingers that can be used as grasp compensatory devices for a hemiparetic upper limb. The devices are the results of experimental sessions with chronic stroke patients and consultations with clinical experts. Both devices share a common principle of work, which consists in opposing the device to the paretic hand or wrist so to restrain the motion of an object. They can be used by chronic stroke patients to compensate for grasping in several activities of daily living (ADLs) with a particular focus on bimanual tasks. The robotic extra fingers are designed to be extremely portable and wearable. They can be wrapped as bracelets when not being used, to further reduce the encumbrance. Both devices are intrinsically compliant and driven by a single actuator through a tendon system. The motion of the robotic devices can be controlled using an electromyography-based interface embedded in a cap. The interface allows the user to control the device motion by contracting the frontalis muscle. The performance characteristics of the devices have been measured experimentally and the shape adaptability has been confirmed by grasping various objects with different shapes. We tested the devices through qualitative experiments based on ADLs involving five chronic stroke patients. The prototypes successfully enabled the patients to complete various bimanual tasks. Results show that the proposed robotic devices improve the autonomy of patients in ADLs and allow them to complete tasks that were previously impossible to perform.

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Source: Toward wearable supernumerary robotic fingers to compensate missing grasping abilities in hemiparetic upper limbThe International Journal of Robotics Research – Irfan Hussain, Giovanni Spagnoletti, Gionata Salvietti, Domenico Prattichizzo, 2017

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[Thesis] Ubiquitous and Wearable Computing Solutions for Enhancing Motor Rehabilitation of the Upper Extremity Post-Stroke 

Coffey, Aodhan L. (2016) Ubiquitous and Wearable Computing Solutions for Enhancing Motor Rehabilitation of the Upper Extremity Post-Stroke. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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A stroke is the loss of brain function caused by a sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain. The extent of damage caused by a stroke is dependent on many factors such as the type of stroke, its location in the brain, the extent of oxygen deprivation and the criticality of the neural systems affected. While stroke is a non-cumulative disease, it is nevertheless a deadly pervasive disease and one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Those fortunate enough to survive stroke are often left with some form of serious long-term disability. Weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, or in an individual limb is common after stroke. This affects independence and can greatly limit quality of life.

Stroke rehabilitation represents the collective effort to heal the body following stroke and to return the survivor to as normal a life as possible. It is well established that rehabilitation therapy comprising task-specific, repetitive, prolonged movement training with learning is an effective method of provoking the necessary neuroplastic changes required which ultimately lead to the recovery of function after stroke. However, traditional means of delivering such treatments are labour intensive and constitute a significant burden for the therapist limiting their ability to treat multiple patients. This makes rehabilitation medicine a costly endeavour that may benefit from technological contributions. As such, stroke has severe social and economic implications, problems exasperated by its age related dependencies and the rapid ageing of our world. Consequently these factors are leading to a rise in the number living with stroke related complications. This is increasing the demand for post stroke rehabilitation services and places an overwhelming amount of additional stress on our already stretched healthcare systems.

Therefore, new innovative solutions are urgently required to support the efforts of healthcare professionals in an attempt to alleviate this stress and to ultimately improve the quality of care for stroke survivors. Recent innovations in computer and communication technology have lead to a torrent of research into ubiquitous, pervasive and distributed technologies, which might be put to great use for rehabilitative purpose. Such technology has great potential utility to support the rehabilitation process through the delivery of complementary, relatively autonomous rehabilitation therapy, potentially in the comfort of the patient’s own home.

This thesis describes concerted work to improve the current state and future prospects of stroke rehabilitation, through investigations which explore the utility of wearable, ambient and ubiquitous computing solutions for the development of potentially transformative healthcare technology. Towards this goal, multiple different avenues of the rehabilitation process are explored, tackling the full chain of processes involved in motor recovery, from brain to extremities. Subsequently, a number of cost effective prototype devices for use in supporting the ongoing rehabilitation process were developed and tested with healthy subjects, a number of open problems were identified and highlighted, and tentative solutions for home-based rehabilitation were put forward. It is envisaged that the use of such technology will play a critical role in abating the current healthcare crisis and it is hoped that the ideas presented in this thesis will aid in the progression and development of cost effective, efficacious rehabilitation services, accessible and affordable to all in need.

Source: Ubiquitous and Wearable Computing Solutions for Enhancing Motor Rehabilitation of the Upper Extremity Post-Stroke – Maynooth University ePrints and eTheses Archive

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[ARTICLE] Efficacy of Short-Term Robot-Assisted Rehabilitation in Patients With Hand Paralysis After Stroke – Full Text

Background: We evaluated the effectiveness of robot-assisted motion and activity in additional to physiotherapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) on stroke patients with hand paralysis. Methods: A randomized controlled trial was conducted. Thirty-two patients, 34.4% female (mean ± SD age: 68.9 ± 11.6 years), with hand paralysis after stroke participated. The experimental group received 30 minutes of passive mobilization of the hand through the robotic device Gloreha (Brescia, Italy), and the control group received an additional 30 minutes of PT and OT for 3 consecutive weeks (3 d/wk) in addition to traditional rehabilitation. Outcomes included the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), Barthel Index (BI), Motricity Index (MI), short version of the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH), and the visual analog scale (VAS) measurements. All measures were collected at baseline and end of the intervention (3 weeks). Results: A significant effect of time interaction existed for NIHSS, BI, MI, and QuickDASH, after stroke immediately after the interventions (all, P < .001). The experimental group had a greater reduction in pain compared with the control group at the end of the intervention, a reduction of 11.3 mm compared with 3.7 mm, using the 100-mm VAS scale. Conclusions: In the treatment of pain and spasticity in hand paralysis after stroke, robot-assisted mobilization performed in conjunction with traditional PT and OT is as effective as traditional rehabilitation.

Stroke (or cerebrovascular accident) is a sudden ischemic or hemorrhagic episode which causes a disturbed generation and integration of neural commands from the sensorimotor31 areas of the cortex. As a consequence, the ability to selectively activate muscle tissues for performing movement is reduced.26 Sixty percent of those individuals who survive a stroke exhibit a sensorimotor deficit of one or both hands and may benefit from rehabilitation to maximize recovery of the upper extremity.23,25 Restoration of arm and hand motility is essential for the independent performance of daily activities.23,26 A prompt and effective rehabilitation approach is essential28 to obtain recovery of an impaired limb to prevent tendon shortening, spasticity, and pain.2

Recent technologies have facilitated the use of robots as tools to assist patients in the rehabilitation process, thus maximizing patient outcomes.4 Several groups have developed robotic tools for upper limb rehabilitation of the shoulder and elbow.27 These robotic tools assist the patient with carrying out exercise protocols and may help restore upper limb mobility.22,26 The complexity of wrist and finger articulations had delayed the development of dedicated rehabilitation robots until 2003 when the first tool based on continuous passive motion (CPM) was presented followed by several other solutions, with various levels of complexity and functionality.3

A recent review on the mechanisms for motor relearning reported factors such as attention and stimuli (reinforcement) are crucial during learning which indicates that motor relearning can take place with patients with neurological disorders even when only the sensorial passive stimulation is applied.30 In addition, another review reported the benefits of CPM for stretching and upper limb passive mobilization for patients with stroke but that CPM treatment requires further research.40

Among robotic devices, Gloreha (Figure 1),5,10 with its compliant mechanical transmission, may represent an easily applied innovative solution to rehabilitation, because the hand can perform grasp and release activities wearing the device by mean of a flexible and light orthosis. Our objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of robot-assisted motion in addition to traditional physiotherapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) compared with additional time spent in PT and OT on stroke patients with hand paralysis on function, motor strength, spasticity, and pain.

Figure 1. Wearable glove/orthosis.

Continue —> Efficacy of Short-Term Robot-Assisted Rehabilitation in Patients With Hand Paralysis After Stroke – Feb 16, 2017

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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…

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[BLOG POST] Superflex: Soft Exoskeleton For Elderly That Can Be Worn Like Underwear.

FEBRUARY 6, 2017

Photo of the back of an elderly person with wavy white hair. She is seen wearing a soft exoskeleton and holding both her arms.

One third of adults over 65 report difficulty walking three blocks. Mobility is a serious concern for the aging population which stems from the fact that other physical ailments and issues force them to stay at home, leading to loss of freedom, increased depression, and risks of getting other diseases like diabetes.

To cater to that population, SRI International is designing an exoskeleton that can be worn like an undergarment. This soft exoskeleton, weighing four pounds, wraps around the user’s core, and provides another set of mechanical muscles that can help elderly sit, stand, and even walk. An in built computer makes sure that the flexing happens along with the real muscles to supplement the energy generated by them. The first version of this suit may require it to be charged once a day.

diagram showing how super flex fits the body.  It covers the chest and torso and goes down till the knees. this photo has two bodies - one male and other female.

The “powered suit” (called Superflex) is designed not just to provide convenience but comfort as well. Rich Mahoney, the CEO, has hired a team of textile and fashion designers to ensure that this suit is worn easily, looks attractive & feels comfortable, and also lets the person use bathroom with ease.

This suit can be used not just by elderly people who complain of a sedentary lifestyle but also by people who have injuries and are in rehabilitation. Superflex is targeting to launch sometime in Mid 2018. Although there is no information on price, the company says that it will be affordable, and people interested in it wouldn’t have to depend on insurance subsidies.

Source: Fast Co Design

Source: Superflex: Soft Exoskeleton For Elderly That Can Be Worn Like Underwear – Assistive Technology Blog

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