Posts Tagged wearable

[Abstract] Wearable vibrotactile stimulation for upper extremity rehabilitation in chronic stroke: clinical feasibility trial using the VTS Glove

Abstract

Objective: Evaluate the feasibility and potential impacts on hand function using a wearable stimulation device (the VTS Glove) which provides mechanical, vibratory input to the affected limb of chronic stroke survivors.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized, controlled feasibility study including sixteen chronic stroke survivors (mean age: 54; 1-13 years post-stroke) with diminished movement and tactile perception in their affected hand. Participants were given a wearable device to take home and asked to wear it for three hours daily over eight weeks. The device intervention was either (1) the VTS Glove, which provided vibrotactile stimulation to the hand, or (2) an identical glove with vibration disabled. Participants were equally randomly assigned to each condition. Hand and arm function were measured weekly at home and in local physical therapy clinics.

Results: Participants using the VTS Glove showed significantly improved Semmes-Weinstein monofilament exam, reduction in Modified Ashworth measures in the fingers, and some increased voluntary finger flexion, elbow and shoulder range of motion.

Conclusions: Vibrotactile stimulation applied to the disabled limb may impact tactile perception, tone and spasticity, and voluntary range of motion. Wearable devices allow extended application and study of stimulation methods outside of a clinical setting.

Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343096166_Wearable_vibrotactile_stimulation_for_upper_extremity_rehabilitation_in_chronic_stroke_clinical_feasibility_trial_using_the_VTS_Glove

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[ARTICLE] The past, present, and future of wearable AT. – Full Text PDF

Abstract

Document reviews major categories of high-tech wearable assistive technology (AT) available on the market today. Wearables (sometimes referred to as wearable technology or wearable tech) are devices or sensors that can be worn on or embedded in your body to assist you in performing a specific task or function. Examples of wearables include smartwatches, fitness trackers, headgear, smart clothing, and jewelry. Examples are also provided of newer high-tech wearables that are useful for people with hearing, cognitive, and visual disabilities.

Download article in Full Text .

Source: https://search.naric.com/research/rehab/redesign_record.cfm?search=2&type=all&criteria=O22257&phrase=no&rec=151480&article_source=Rehab&international=0&international_language=&international_location=

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[ARTICLE] Exoskeleton use in post-stroke gait rehabilitation: a qualitative study of the perspectives of persons post-stroke and physiotherapists – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Wearable powered exoskeletons are a new and emerging technology developed to provide sensory-guided motorized lower limb assistance enabling intensive task specific locomotor training utilizing typical lower limb movement patterns for persons with gait impairments. To ensure that devices meet end-user needs it is important to understand and incorporate end-users perspectives, however research in this area is extremely limited in the post-stroke population. The purpose of this study was to explore in-depth, end-users perspectives, persons with stroke and physiotherapists, following a single-use session with a H2 exoskeleton.

Methods

We used a qualitative interpretive description approach utilizing semi-structured face to face interviews, with persons post-stroke and physiotherapists, following a 1.5 h session with a H2 exoskeleton.

Results

Five persons post-stroke and 6 physiotherapists volunteered to participate in the study. Both participant groups provided insightful comments on their experience with the exoskeleton. Four themes were developed from the persons with stroke participant data: (1) Adopting technology; (2) Device concerns; (3) Developing walking ability; and, (4) Integrating exoskeleton use. Five themes were developed from the physiotherapist participant data: (1) Developer-user collaboration; (2) Device specific concerns; (3) Device programming; (4) Patient characteristics requiring consideration; and, (5) Indications for use.

Conclusions

This study provides an interpretive understanding of end-users perspectives, persons with stroke and neurological physiotherapists, following a single-use experience with a H2 exoskeleton. The findings from both stakeholder groups overlap such that four over-arching concepts were identified including: (i) Stakeholder participation; (ii) Augmentation vs. autonomous robot; (iii) Exoskeleton usability; and (iv) Device specific concerns. The end users provided valuable perspectives on the use and design of the H2 exoskeleton, identifying needs specific to post-stroke gait rehabilitation, the need for a robust evidence base, whilst also highlighting that there is significant interest in this technology throughout the continuum of stroke rehabilitation.

Introduction

Over the period 1990–2017 there has been a 3% increase in age-standardized rates of global stroke prevalence [1] and a 33% decrease in mortality due to improved risk factor control and treatments [2]. Therefore, stroke survivors are living longer with mild to severe lifelong disabilities requiring long term assistance [1]. As a result, stroke presents a significant socioeconomic burden accounting for the largest proportion of total disability adjusted life years (47.3%) of neurological disorders [3]. Walking impairments, one aspect of stroke disabilities, negatively impact independence and quality of life [4], and recovery of walking is a primary goal post-stroke [5].

Wearable powered exoskeletons are a new and emerging technology originally developed as robots to enable persons who were completely paralyzed due to spinal cord injury to stand and walk [67], but more recently developed to provide sensory-guided motorized lower limb assistance to persons with gait impairments [8]. They require the active participation of the user from the perspective of integrating postural control/balance and the locomotion pattern in real life environments whilst simultaneously providing assistance to achieve typical lower limb movement patterns in a task specific manner [8]. The Exo-H2 is a novel powered exoskeleton in that it has six actuated joints, the hip, knee and ankle bilaterally, and uses an assistive gait control algorithm to provide lower limb assistance when the gait pattern deviates from a prescribed pattern [9]. As stroke impairments typically influence hip, knee and ankle movements the H2 was considered an appropriate exoskeleton for our study [810].

Significant limitations persist in current exoskeleton designs such as weight, cost, size, speed and efficiency [11]. Although end-users’ perspectives are essential in the design and development of assistive technology [1213], there is a paucity of literature from both persons with disabilities and physiotherapists (PTs) perspectives [1415]. Over the last decade end-user perspectives have primarily been studied in spinal cord injury (SCI) in which four studies used semi-structured interviews [16,17,18,19], and 3 studies used survey methods [20,21,22] with sample size ranging from 3 to 20 persons. However, these studies included both complete and incomplete SCI with most participants being non-ambulatory representing a very different end-user population compared to persons post-stroke. A further two studies reported end-user perspectives using survey methods with persons with multiple sclerosis (MS) [23], and persons with MS, SCI or acquired brain injury (ABI) [24]. Wolff et al.,(2014) utilized an online survey to evaluate perspectives on potential use of exoskeletons with wheelchair users, primarily persons with SCI, and healthcare professionals, but no PTs were included [25]. To date only one study by Read et al.,(2020) specifically investigated perspectives of 3 PTs on exoskeleton use using semi-structured interviews with persons with SCI or stroke. Currently, a mixed-methods study is underway to investigate perspectives of PTs and persons with stroke [26]. Thus, further research is needed to explore in-depth, utilizing a qualitative research approach, end-users’ perspectives on lower limb exoskeleton use in post-stroke gait rehabilitation.

It is important to understand and incorporate end-user perspectives [27], persons post-stroke and physiotherapists, with respect to the design of exoskeletons and their implementation to effectively facilitate uptake both in clinical practice and community settings. Therefore, the purpose of our study is to explore the perspectives of persons post-stroke and physiotherapists following a 1.5 h single-use session with a H2 exoskeleton.[…]

Continue —-> https://jneuroengrehab.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12984-020-00750-x

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[Conference Paper] HandMATE: Wearable Robotic Hand Exoskeleton and Integrated Android App for At Home Stroke Rehabilitation – Full Text

Abstract

We have developed HandMATE (Hand Movement Assisting Therapy Exoskeleton); a wearable motorized hand exoskeleton for home-based movement therapy following stroke. Each finger and the thumb is powered by a linear actuator which provides flexion and extension assistance. Force sensitive resistors integrated into the design measure grasp and extension initiation force. An assistive therapy mode is based on an admittance control strategy. We evaluated our control system via subject and bench testing. Errors during a grip force tracking task while using the HandMATE were minimal (<1%) and comparable to unassisted healthy hand performance. We also outline a dedicated app we have developed for optimal use of HandMATE at home. The exoskeleton communicates wirelessly with an Android tablet which features guided exercises, therapeutic games and performance feedback. We surveyed 5 chronic stroke patients who used the HandMATE device to further evaluate our system, receiving positive feedback on the exoskeleton and integrated app.

SECTION I.

Introduction

Stroke is the leading cause of severe long-term disability in the US [1]. The probability of regaining functional use of the impaired upper extremity is low [2]. At 6 months post stroke, 62% of survivors failed to achieve some dexterity [3]. Such impairments can inhibit the individual’s ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL). Subsequently, upper limb rehabilitation recovery to improve ADL is one of the main self-reported goals of stroke survivors [4].

Outpatient rehabilitation is recommended for survivors that have been discharged from inpatient rehabilitative services [5]. However, outpatient rehabilitation in general is largely underutilized, with only 35.5% of stroke survivors using services [6]. Factors inhibiting outpatient therapy include cost, lack of resources and transportation. Wearable robotics that enable home-based therapy have the potential to overcome these barriers. They provide assistive movement forces which enable task-specific training in real-life situations that patients are often unable to practice without a clinician. See [7] for wearable hand robots for rehabilitation review.

At home therapy is not without its limitations. The inability to motivate oneself and fatigue are the most common reported factors resulting in failure to adhere to home based exercise programs for stroke recovery [8]. While wearable robotics can reduce fatigue during exercise, it does not directly address lack of motivation. Research has shown incorporating games into home therapy can encourage compliance [9]. Zondervan et al. showed that use of an instrumented sensor glove, named the MusicGlove, improved self-reported use and quality of movement, greater than convention at home exercises [9]. Other studies showed increased motivation to complete the therapeutic exercises and optimized movement when the user is given feedback of their performance via the Microsoft Kinect [10]. Wearable robotic systems that offer feedback and gaming capability may optimize at home stroke therapy.

Such a system was presented by Nijenhuis et al. in which stroke survivors showed motor improvements after completing a 6 week self-administered training program comprised of a dynamic hand orthosis and gaming environment [11]. However, the hand device was passive, assisting only with extension, which limits the range of stroke survivors who could utilize such a system. Research groups have proposed combining their powered take-home wearable hand devices with custom integrated gaming systems [12], or guided exercises [13]; however, they have yet to conduct clinical trials. Notably, Ghassemi et al., have developed an integrated multi-user VR system to use with their X-Glove actuated orthosis, which will allow for client-therapist sessions without the patient having to travel [12].

Tablets are relatively inexpensive, portable, and straight forward to use, with 47% of internet users globally already owning one [14]. Furthermore, a recent study demonstrated the success of a tablet based at home exercise program in improving the recovery of stroke survivors [15]. Notably, the study evaluated the accessibility of tablets, concluding every participant used the tablet successfully. Therefore a wearable powered hand robot with a dedicated tablet app which will provide functional games, task-specific guided exercises and feedback of movement, could optimize at home stroke therapy.

SECTION II.

Aims

The goal of this project was to create a wearable robotic exoskeleton that enables repetitive practice of task-specific and goal orientated movements, which translates into improvements in ADL. Furthermore, for maximum use and successful integration into home-based rehabilitation, we aimed to create an Android application compatible with the robotic exoskeleton.

To meet these goals, the following design objectives were established: 1) Assistance with finger flex/extension. 2) Assistance with thumb carpometacarpal (CMC) add/abduction and thumb metacarpophalangeal (MCP) flex/extension. 3) Independent assistive control of each finger and thumb. 4) Portable for at home use, meaning the device has to be lightweight and wireless. 5) Relatively affordable. 6) Integrated with android tablet app. Specific design goals for the app included: 1) Easy to use. 2) Allow the user to control the exoskeletons assistance mode through the app. 3) Records the user’s data and prompts the user via notifications to complete the allocated daily or weekly recommended activity time.

In this paper we will evaluate if the proposed device and app goals have been achieved via bench and subject testing.

SECTION III.

Design

The HandMATE device (Fig. 1) builds upon the Hand Spring Operated Movement Enhancer (HandSOME) devices [16][17][18]. The HandSOME devices are non-motorized wearable exoskeletons that assists stroke patients with finger and thumb extension movements. The HandSOME I device assists with gross whole hand opening movements, while the HandSOME II assists isolated extension movement of 15 finger and thumb degrees of freedom (DOF), allowing performance of various grip patterns used in ADL. While both devices have been shown to significantly increase range of motion (ROM) and functional ability in chronic stroke subjects [16],[18], the HandSOME devices only assist with extension movements and require enough flexion activity to overcome the assistance of the extension springs. As many stroke patients also suffer finger and thumb flexion weakness, we decided to build upon the work of the high DOF HandSOME II and additionally utilize power actuation so we can assist with both flexion and extension movements.

Figure 1: - 
HandMATE device. Individually actuated fingers and thumb shown. Electronics box is affixed to back of splint.
Figure 1:
HandMATE device. Individually actuated fingers and thumb shown. Electronics box is affixed to back of splint.

Continue —-> https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/9175332

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[Abstract] DESC glove: Prototyping a novel wearable device for post-stroke hand rehabilitation

Abstract

The human brain integrates tactile sensory information from the fingertips to efficiently manipulate objects. Sensory impairments due to neurological disorders, e.g. stroke, largely reduce hand dexterity and the ability to perform daily living activities. Several feedback augmentation techniques have been investigated for rehabilitative purposes with promising outcomes. However, they often require the use of unpractical, expensive, or complex devices. In this work we propose the delivery of vibrotactile feedback based on the Discrete Event-driven Sensory feedback Control (DESC) to promote motor learning in post stroke rehabilitation. For this purpose, we prototyped a novel wearable device, namely the DESC glove. It consisted of a soft glove instrumented with PolyVinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) sensors at the fingertips and eccentric-mass vibration actuators to be worn on the forearm. We proceeded with the characterization of the device, which resulted in promising outcomes. The DESC glove was tested with ten healthy participants subsequently in a pick and lift timed task. The effects of augmented vibrotactile feedback were assessed comparing it to a baseline, consisting of wearing the device unpowered. The results of this pilot study showed a decrease in the time necessary to perform the task, a reduction in the time delay from load force to grip force activation and a diminishing of the grip force applied on the object, which led to a lower breakage rate in the intervention condition. These promising outcomes encourage further experiments with stroke survivors to validate the effectiveness of the device to improve hand dexterity and promote stroke rehabilitation.

via DESC glove | TU Delft Repositories

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[ARTICLE] The Effectiveness of Wearable Upper Limb Assistive Devices in Degenerative Neuromuscular Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – Full Text

Abstract

Background: This systematic review summarizes the current evidence about the effectiveness of wearable assistive technologies for upper limbs support during activities of daily living for individuals with neuromuscular diseases.

Methods: Fourteen studies have been included in the meta-analysis, involving 184 participants. All included studies compared patients ability to perform functional tasks with and without assistive devices.

Results: An overall effect size of 1.06 (95% CI = 0.76-1.36, p < 0.00001) was obtained, demonstrating that upper limbs assistive devices significantly improve the performance in activities of daily living in people with neuromuscular diseases. A significant interaction between studies evaluating functional improvement with externally-assessed outcome measures or self-perceived outcome measures has been detected. In particular, the effect size of the sub-group considering self-perceived scales was 1.38 (95% CI = 1.08-1.68), while the effect size of the other group was 0.77 (95% CI = 0.41-1.11), meaning that patients’ perceived functional gain is often higher than the functional gain detectable through clinical scales.

Conclusion: Overall, the quality of the evidence ranged from low to moderate, due to low number of studies and participants, limitations in the selection of participants and in the blindness of outcome assessors, and risk of publication bias.

Significance: A large magnitude effect and a clear dose-response gradient were found, therefore, a strong recommendation, in favor of the use of assistive devices could be suggested.

 

1. Introduction

1.1. Background

Severe muscular weakness and chronic disability caused by neuromuscular diseases (e.g., muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, spinal cord injuries or stroke) or neurodegenerative diseases (i.e., multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) lead to the unavoidable loss of the possibility to perform even simple actions, such as walking, eating, and changing limbs posture. Patients suffer the consequences in terms of independence, quality of life, and self-esteem, given their need to continuously rely on assistance from their caregivers. This is particularly true for upper limbs, where independence is not primarily linked to essential tasks (e.g., eating, drinking, get dressed), but to simple actions not necessary for survival, but which increase the quality of life (e.g., pull up the glasses, scratch, use the mouse, etc.). To independently regain a lost motor function might be therefore a special experience towards a more independent daily life. Technological advancements might be a way to compensate patients’ muscular weakness through the use of Assistive Devices (ADs), which empower the user in the execution of daily life activities, and which are designed to maintain or to improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. ADs for lower limbs, such as wheelchairs and electric wheelchairs, have been successfully developed and diffused to deal with the deambulation issue. On the other side, the support of upper limbs related activities is more challenging. However, with the increased life expectancy, upper extremities functions became more and more important to be supported. Non-ambulant patients with neuromuscular disorders identified arm functions as their highest priority, indicating repositioning at night, bring hands to mouth, shift while seated, using the wheelchair joystick and the keyboard of a computer, and personal hygiene as priority functions to be regained (Janssen et al., ). The currently existing assistive devices to support upper limbs functions can be categorized in (i) end-effector devices, and (ii) exoskeletons. As for end-effector devices, they present a single interaction point between the user and the AD, usually located at forearm or hand level. The main disadvantage of robotic manipulator devices is the impossibility to control upper limb joints directly: the change in position of the interaction point results in unexpected movements of shoulder and elbow joints. As for exoskeletons, they are external structures worn by the patient, with joints and links placed in correspondence of human joints and bones. Patients usually prefer exoskeleton solutions, given that these devices not only help to execute the desired task, but they increase the perception of a self-executed movement. In a study conducted by Rupal et al. () with 118 participants, 96.8% prefer to use an exoskeleton over other mobility aids, and 84.1% like the idea that exoskeletons should be made available in care homes (Rupal et al., ). In addition, from a survey conducted by the authors at Lignano Sabbiadoro (Italy) on June 2015, during the annual meeting of the UILDM Association (Italian Association of Muscular Dystrophy), 10 out of 15 interviewed patients affected by muscular dystrophy answered that they prefer exoskeleton solutions for possible upper limbs assistive devices. ADs driving technology can be either passive, working through pre-stored mechanical energy, or active, working with motors, and therefore able to exert greater forces or to control movements more precisely. However, even if a remarkable number of works have been published dealing with the development of innovative electromechanical technologies (e.g., Ragonesi et al., ; Jung et al., ; Dunning et al., ; Sin et al., ; Dalla Gasperina et al., ), scientific evidence for the benefits of these technologies is still lacking, which could justify costs and effort. When dealing with Assistive Devices, or in general with complex technologies, the demonstration of the effectiveness of their use is rather difficult to be demonstrated following the canonical research studies design [i.e., Randomized Control Trial (RCT) design], even if some effort in this direction is currently ongoing (Antonietti et al., ). This is due to several reasons, such as the difficulty to demonstrate the validity of the proposed approach independently from the users’ placebo effect (e.g., it is impossible to perform a blind session), the high cost of the technology and therefore the impossibility to recruit many volunteers contemporary, and the Ethical Committee procedures for non CE-marked devices. A recent systematic review on devices to assist and/or rehabilitate upper limbs made a quite large classification of different devices used, showing an intense research work towards the development of new technologies, which however are rarely methodologically properly tested, and therefore they have difficulties to effectively reach end-users (Onose et al., ). […]

Continue —-> The Effectiveness of Wearable Upper Limb Assistive Devices in Degenerative Neuromuscular Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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[BLOG POST] Accessible Sex Toys for People With Disabilities or Chronic Pain

Sex is a basic human need, yet often people with mobility challenges or physical differences are left out of the conversation, from depictions in popular media to the design of sex toys. When considering the latter, most people view sex toys as a naughty bonus. For people with a disability or chronic illness, however, sex toys aren’t “just” for fun — they’re an empowering way to make sex accessible.

“Sex toys can not only give us pleasure but they are assistive technology just like a cane or a shower chair,” Eva Sweeney, sex educator and host of “Cripping Up Sex With Eva,” told The Mighty. “They allow us to explore and enjoy our bodies like everybody else. So many times toys are viewed as novelties or optional when they are necessary for many people with disabilities or chronic illness (and without).”

It’s easy to find enticing sex toys if you’re able-bodied, but it’s more of a challenge to find affordable options that people with mobility challenges or even chronic pain can use comfortably. “Most sex toys are very expensive and as we all know people with disabilities are more likely to live in poverty,” Sweeney said. “That’s the major barrier keeping people with disabilities from getting the toys they need.”

We gathered 15 accessible sex toys, wearables and devices that might just fast-track you to the big “O,” whether you’re looking for solo fun or a partnered encounter. And here’s a little extra advice from Sweeney: “Explore! Try different toys. Everybody is different.”

1. Tongue Star Pleasure Tongue by Hott Products ($5.65)

Tongue Star Pleasure Tongue by Hott Products

This toy lets your tongue do the talking during sexy times with this hands-free vibrator you can wear. It looks a little like a mouth guard, and that’s exactly how you’ll use it. The design reduces the vibrations you feel on your teeth when the vibrator is on. A small vibrator attached to the outside of the mouthpiece, meanwhile, lets you deliver what Hott Products calls “toe-curling thrills” to a partner.

2. Thigh Strap-On by SportSheets ($23.99; $15.36 on Amazon)

Thigh Strap-On by SportSheets

SportSheets’ thigh strap-on lets you give a partner an intimate experience with penetration even if your mobility restricts your pelvic movement. It’s hands-free for you, so while your partner grinds, you get to explore. The strap-on harness is sturdy and comfortable and can be a great solution for accessibility. “Harnesses can be really helpful for keeping toys in place,” Sweeney said. “There are harnesses for every body part and can be custom made,” so let your imagination run wild.

3. Mage Flexible Massager Vibrator by Intimate Melody ($29.95)

Mage Flexible Massager Vibrator by Intimate Melody

“I really like flexible toys because you can mold them in whatever shape you want and they usually stay like that so you don’t have to use your hands as much,” Sweeney told The Mighty. The Mage flexible massager vibrator delivers on this sex toy ideal. Made by Intimate Melody, this vibrator isn’t hands-free, but it’s completely flexible so you can customize the toy to what works best for you. That includes bending, twisting and folding the Mage and exploring its six massage modes at three strength levels.

4. Hollow Strap-On by Adam & Eve ($29.95)

Hollow Strap-On by Adam and Eve

A hollow strap-on can bring new energy into your sexual life if penetration is important to your routine. The hollowed dildo can accommodate an erect or resting penis, and if you live with erectile dysfunction, a hollow strap-on can provide the sensation of giving penetrative sex for you and a partner. The rippled shell will feel great for both parties. It’s a flexible investment because it can be used by any gender thanks to an adjustable, sturdy harness and an easy-to-clean dildo. You can also invest in a vibrating version of this hollow strap-on ($49.95).

5. Sex Stool by Kinkly ($60.99 on Amazon)

Sex Stool by Kinkly

Sometimes, you just need a little extra support. Enter the sex stool, a sturdy metal frame with elastic straps to support your body weight that gives you amazing access to a partner or sex toy mount. With a sex stool, you’ll use less energy and be able to focus more on pleasure and less on strain. It’s easy on the knees, and some users have reported extra tingles thanks to increased compression in your glutes as you use the stool.

6. HelixSyn by Aneros ($69.95)

HelixSyn by Aneros

For those who like to enter through the back door, Aneros’ HelixSyn prostate stimulator is the hands-free option you may be looking for. Advertised as having “velvet touch” silicone, the toy is comfortable for both beginners and advanced users. Its shape fits comfortably inside your body and causes friction in all the right spots as you contract and relax your muscles (a version of anal kegel exercises). HelixSyn’s design pivots as you move, so you’re in good shape no matter what position you choose. Plus, the handle won’t cause any pain and a comfort tab is designed to increase your pleasure.

7. Door Jam Sex Sling by SportSheets ($69.99; $35.11 on Amazon)

Door Jam Sex Sling by SportSheetsTo gain extra support and a lot of flexibility positioning with a partner, give this door jam sex sling by SportSheets a try. The sturdy sling has a seat, hand and foot straps, all of which are adjustable. At least one partner will need to stand. However, the sling can assist in bearing body weight as you try out new sex positions that might not otherwise be possible. Other sling options, like a simple sex sling ($35.99) or the Penetration Station that attaches to the mattress ($44.99), might also be worth checking out.

8. Fin Vibrator by Dame Products ($75)

Fin Vibrator by Dame Products

With Fin, Dame Products has taken the grip challenge out of vibrators. “Fin is a finger vibrator…that’s much easier to hold than most bullets because it has little fins almost that goes between your two fingers,” Dame co-founder, Alexandra Fine, told The Mighty. “It also has a detachable tether that can really tie the product to your hand in a way that a lot of people either with disabilities or arthritis or any challenges gripping something really like….The way it works with your hand, it feels more like a natural extension of your body.” Introduced in 2016 by Fine and Dame co-founder Janet Lieberman, Fin offers dual sensations and three speeds all in the palm of your hand. Also check out Dame Products’ flagship hands-free vibrator you can wear during sex, Eva II ($135).

9. Wearable by Ohnut ($75)

Ohnut Wearable

The first intimate wearable, Ohnut’s creator and founder Emily Sauer wanted to address painful sex for people with a vagina. “I had been experiencing painful sex myself for my entire sexual life and when I had asked doctors for advice they really didn’t want to offer any help,” Sauer told The Mighty. “It finally got to a point where I had felt so isolated by my experience because I was too embarrassed to talk about it and [so I] came up with this crazy idea.”

Ohnut — comprised of four stackable, adjustable linking rings “that allow you to modulate penetration depth” — aims to reduce pain and bring fun back into the bedroom. The squishy, comfortable silicone Ohnut is worn by the penetrating partner or placed on a toy, and you can add or remove rings to personalize penetration depth. Orders placed on Ohnut’s website are scheduled to ship in early November.

10. BonBon Sex Toy Mount by Liberator ($85; $68 on Amazon)

Liberator BonBon Sex Toy MountA variety of pillows can make sex more comfortable and accessible. There are tons of pillow options out there, from wedges to ramps, lifts, sex toy mounts and center stages. From master sex-friendly pillow company Liberator, the BonBon sex toy mount pillow is a versatile investment. You can insert a toy into the mount for solo fun or you can use the BonBon on its own to find a comfortable sex position with a partner. It’s a two-in-one pillow combination for whatever you’re in the mood for.

11. Jive by We-Vibe ($119; $93.92 on Amazon)

Jive by We-Vibe

For a wearable, hands-free vibrator that delivers maximum G-spot sensation, We-Vibe’s Jive has you covered. Easy to manage, the Jive’s design prioritizes user comfort. Once it’s in place, you can deliver 10 modes of self-pleasure. Kick your fun up a notch because the Jive connects to a controllable app via Bluetooth, so you or a partner can control the toy from anywhere, and you can create custom vibes. It’s on the expensive side, and for any toy in a higher price range, Sweeney advised finding a cheaper version for testing before investing in the higher quality version.

12. Pulse III Solo by Hot Octopuss ($119)

Pulse III Solo by Hot Octopuss

Vibrators aren’t just for people with vaginas. The Pulse III Solo by Hot Octopuss brings hands-free vibration to those of you with a penis. It’s expensive, but this “guybrator,” as they call it, delivers oscillating stimulation backed by science to give you an orgasm without lifting a finger. You can adjust the Solo’s speed, and the expandable silicone wings wrap around comfortably for maximum sensation. In addition, Hot Octopuss’ research found that an erection isn’t required to use the Solo: “Tests have shown that used static, Pulse can lead to orgasm even while the user remains flaccid.”

13. Bi-Stronic Fusion by Fun Factory ($220)

Bi-Stronic Fusion by Fun Factory

Check out Fun Factory’s Bi-Stronic Fusion for hands-free penetration. It’s a multidimensional tool, providing thrusting, pulsing and vibrating all in one. Once inserted, it does the work for you. The Fusion is shaped to reach the G-spot and provide clitoral stimulation all at the same time, though some reviewers have said the toy’s larger size makes full insertion (required for the external vibrator to reach the clit) uncomfortable for some people. You can also test-drive the Fusion through 64 pulsation and vibration options.

14. Sex Machine by Humpus ($258)

Humpus Sex MachineHumpus, a U.K.-based company working to revolutionize hands-free pleasure, is nearly ready to release their Humpus sex machine. Made for any gender (or couple), the compact machine is worn around the waist with either a penetrative or sleeve attachment. With the click of a button, Humpus will do the stroking or thrusting, and you have the ability to adjust the speed or the attachment. They’re on the pricey side, and, according to a recent press release, the Humpus won’t be available until the holidays this year at the earliest.

15. Sex Chair by IntimateRider ($329)

IntimateRider Sex ChairDesigned by a person with C6-7 quadriplegia to add more choice to sexual movement, the IntimateRider chair smoothly glides to provide thrusting action. The seat of the chair is short so it doesn’t get in the way of the action, and its design makes it easy to transfer into and find the optimal position. IntimateRider swings into action with movement from your upper torso, or with assistance from your partner. You can also add a RiderMate ($169) or RiderMate Deluxe ($315) for additional positioning and support options for you and a partner.

Looking for some disability-inclusive sex positions? Check out our illustrated list

via Accessible Sex Toys for People With Disabilities or Chronic Pain | The Mighty

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[WEB PAGE] Wearable-tech glove translates sign language into speech in real time: The device is inexpensive, flexible and highly durable

Date: June 29, 2020

Summary: Bioengineers have designed a glove-like device that can translate American Sign Language into English speech in real time though a smartphone app. The system includes a pair of gloves with thin, stretchable sensors that run the length of each of the five fingers. These sensors, made from electrically conducting yarns, pick up hand motions and finger placements that stand for individual letters, numbers, words and phrases.

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UCLA bioengineers have designed a glove-like device that can translate American Sign Language into English speech in real time though a smartphone app. Their research is published in the journal Nature Electronics.

“Our hope is that this opens up an easy way for people who use sign language to communicate directly with non-signers without needing someone else to translate for them,” said Jun Chen, an assistant professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and the principal investigator on the research. “In addition, we hope it can help more people learn sign language themselves.”

The system includes a pair of gloves with thin, stretchable sensors that run the length of each of the five fingers. These sensors, made from electrically conducting yarns, pick up hand motions and finger placements that stand for individual letters, numbers, words and phrases.

The device then turns the finger movements into electrical signals, which are sent to a dollar-coin-sized circuit board worn on the wrist. The board transmits those signals wirelessly to a smartphone that translates them into spoken words at the rate of about a one word per second.

The researchers also added adhesive sensors to testers’ faces — in between their eyebrows and on one side of their mouths — to capture facial expressions that are a part of American Sign Language.

Previous wearable systems that offered translation from American Sign Language were limited by bulky and heavy device designs or were uncomfortable to wear, Chen said.

The device developed by the UCLA team is made from lightweight and inexpensive but long-lasting, stretchable polymers. The electronic sensors are also very flexible and inexpensive.

In testing the device, the researchers worked with four people who are deaf and use American Sign Language. The wearers repeated each hand gesture 15 times. A custom machine-learning algorithm turned these gestures into the letters, numbers and words they represented. The system recognized 660 signs, including each letter of the alphabet and numbers 0 through 9.

via Wearable-tech glove translates sign language into speech in real time: The device is inexpensive, flexible and highly durable — ScienceDaily

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[Abstract] A Novel Wearable Device for Motor Recovery of Hand Function in Chronic Stroke Survivors

Background. In monkey, reticulospinal connections to hand and forearm muscles are spontaneously strengthened following corticospinal lesions, likely contributing to recovery of function. In healthy humans, pairing auditory clicks with electrical stimulation of a muscle induces plastic changes in motor pathways (probably including the reticulospinal tract), with features reminiscent of spike-timing dependent plasticity. In this study, we tested whether pairing clicks with muscle stimulation could improve hand function in chronic stroke survivors.

Methods. Clicks were delivered via a miniature earpiece; transcutaneous electrical stimuli at motor threshold targeted forearm extensor muscles. A wearable electronic device (WD) allowed patients to receive stimulation at home while performing normal daily activities. A total of 95 patients >6 months poststroke were randomized to 3 groups: WD with shock paired 12 ms before click; WD with clicks and shocks delivered independently; standard care. Those allocated to the device used it for at least 4 h/d, every day for 4 weeks. Upper-limb function was assessed at baseline and weeks 2, 4, and 8 using the Action Research Arm Test (ARAT), which has 4 subdomains (Grasp, Grip, Pinch, and Gross).

Results. Severity across the 3 groups was comparable at baseline. Only the paired stimulation group showed significant improvement in total ARAT (median baseline: 7.5; week 8: 11.5; P = .019) and the Grasp subscore (median baseline: 1; week 8: 4; P = .004).

Conclusion. A wearable device delivering paired clicks and shocks over 4 weeks can produce a small but significant improvement in upper-limb function in stroke survivors.

via A Novel Wearable Device for Motor Recovery of Hand Function in Chronic Stroke Survivors – Supriyo Choudhury, Ravi Singh, A. Shobhana, Dwaipayan Sen, Sidharth Shankar Anand, Shantanu Shubham, Suparna Gangopadhyay, Mark R. Baker, Hrishikesh Kumar, Stuart N. Baker,

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[WEB PAGE] All in the Wrist: Wearables Help Treat Disease, Disability

Suffering a stroke can change how your body works in odd ways. Maybe you suddenly can’t lift your leg the way you did a few weeks before, or your arm doesn’t seem to extend properly. It’s different for every case.

Recovering from these disabilities can be an arduous process. A patient must not only struggle with his or her impairments, but also the conviction to overcome them. At the hospital, therapists coach rehabbing patients through intense exercise schedules, but after being sent home, patients won’t be monitored as closely and often stop using disabled limbs, favoring healthier body parts instead. This often results in more lost functionality.

Doctors have long been perplexed about how to effectively help patients who aren’t in the exam room or rehab clinic. Researchers and programmers are now developing a new generation of wearables that can monitor, encourage, and even treat people suffering from chronic neurological disorders like stroke, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy, as well as the essential tremors that come with Parkinson’s Disease.

Practice makes perfect

Around 2015, Belén Rubio Ballester, a researcher at Spain’s IBEC Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC), fixated on a specific challenge faced by patients recovering from stroke: Use it or lose it.

“You practice, you learn — if you quit practicing, you lose your skills,” says Ballester. “We see this everywhere, whether you’re playing an instrument or in sports. Stroke patients may similarly lose some motor function.”

It’s common for rehab patients to favor their stronger muscles, usually to the detriment of debilitated fingers, hands, and legs. To remedy this, Ballester launched a pilot experiment to see if a watch-like wearable connected to a smartphone could influence patient behavior. Subjects were fitted with a bracelet-like prototype that buzzed once an hour to remind stroke sufferers to use their arms, and an app installed on a paired phone checked for movement that confirmed the patient actually followed the advice. It was a small study, monitoring just four trainees over five days, but the results were consistent: The techno nudge helped.

rehab session
BSIP / Getty

In March, the same team launched a follow-up study that promises to be one of the largest experiments of its kind, training and tracking 100 recovering stroke patients with a combination of smartphones and Android Wear watches.

Similar to the original homegrown bracelets, the Android watches will buzz once an hour to remind patients not to forget they need to exercise their impaired limbs. Study participants will also be able to see their usage quantified on paired smartphones. The Android Wear gyroscope makes it easier for the researchers to track the type of movements. Each patient will be asked to regularly draw circles to check the fluidity of the gesture.

Employing Android Wear is more of a practical choice than tech preference. Android watches tend to be cheaper than Apple ones or other comparable gear, and since the researchers aren’t providing phones, they’re banking on patients owning compatible gear.

Ballester projects initial data for the study will be available by December 2020. The IBEC team also plans to track the patients after they’ve stopped wearing the watches to check if the habits developed by the recurring buzzes will stick. The full results should be completed by the middle of 2021.

Wearables to monitor neurological disorders

On the other side of the Atlantic, Rutgers University professor Jean-Francois Daneault is using wearables, phones, and robotics to monitor and treat patients with a range of neurological disorders, including stroke, cerebral palsy and essential tremor. In 2019, he won a $400,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a platform that will track patients over long periods to help diagnose those impairments.

“A lot of those ailments have overlapping symptoms,” said Daneault. “Doctors who aren’t specialists can have a hard time identifying the differences between the diseases.” A well-attuned wearable, in combination with a smartphone app, can capture those often imperceptible symptoms that give a doctor the necessary stats to make an informed diagnosis.

The platform will also potentially be used to measure how symptoms may change over months and years. “People may only see their neurologists or doctors once or twice a year, for a limited amount of time, so it can be difficult to know how they’re doing,” says Daneault. A well-done app can tell a doctor if a medication is working or if the treatment needs to be adjusted.

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“There are very few specialists, and they’re always booked,” he says, underscoring the need for more monitoring of patient ailments.

Though Denault is attempting to build a platform that can work with Android Wear, Apple watches, and Fitbits, the wrist-worn tech can measure more than just arm and hand actions. Gait can also be tracked with a wearable or a smartphone placed in a pocket.

One of the big challenges of making a platform that works with multiple wearables is understanding the slight differences between the gyroscopes and accelerometers embedded into each. Daneault realizes the practical challenges such a platform must overcome: The app will need to pick through a wealth of data and parse out the most relevant information, and also find ways to integrate what is learned into numerous digital health systems.

Researchers are developing parallel tech and functionality at numerous schools, hospitals, and institutions. Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic are using iPads to measure the balance of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. An A.I. expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed a smartwatch that can look for the signs of epilepsy seizures and predict their onset before they occur. There’s even a Google X project that uses Fitbits to help track the progression of MS symptoms.

Not all of these projects are ready for prime time, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved a few wearables that can monitor and treat neurological issues, and they are now commercially available. The Embrace wearable, for example, is a bracelet that monitors wearers for stress and potential seizures. A device called Trio, on the other hand, delivers peripheral nerve stimulation to ameliorate the symptoms of essential tremor. A clinical study of the device showed that using it decreases the amount of hand shaking, often caused by Parkinson’s disease, within three months.

Such products are just the early signs of how the treatment of neurological disorders is about to radically change.

“The future of motor rehab is not at the hospital,” says IBEC researcher Ballester. “You want patients to go home as soon as they feel safe and want to, and things are prepared at home. But you don’t want to lose track of them. You want rehab embedded in life. If it isn’t, it won’t be maintained … That’s why I see rehab in the life of the patient. Not at the hospital.”

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via All in the Wrist: Wearables Help Treat Disease, Disability | Digital Trends

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