Posts Tagged wearable

[WEB PAGE] Carbonhand — Anatomical Concepts (UK)

Bioservo_infrastructure.jpgCARBONHAND
Remarkable assistive device for weak grip

Is your grip weaker than it should be due to accident, neurological condition or other illness? You can achieve a stronger grip and more power and endurance which you then can use in a very natural way with the Carbonhand.

The Carbonhand is the latest evolution of the original SEM™ Glove (Soft Extra Muscles for You) and is a smart, wearable assistive aid to improve your “grip ability” when this has been weakened by illness or trauma.

The glove mimics the human hand by using artificial tendons, motors and sensors along with some very clever software. This approach is called “mechatronics” by engineers – but what you will care about is the result – a product that can help you can have the power and endurance in your fingers to get back to a more complete life.

Developed and tested by Bioservo Technologies in Sweden, we are providing assessment, support and sales in the UK

Who Should Use it?

The Carbonhand is a medical device designed to be used by any person with a weak grip.  It is important that the user is able to move their fingers into a grip and extend the fingers again otherwise the glove can’t help.  People may suffer from impaired grip strength for countless reasons, such as muscle and nerve damage, muscle diseases, rheumatism and pain. The Carbonhand strengthens the grip and either compensates where power is lacking or adds extra force and endurance.

GRIP STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE IN A VERY NATURAL WAY

 The features of the Carbonhand are easily adjusted via an App

The features of the Carbonhand are easily adjusted via an App

Every year another 60,000 UK stroke survivors will find hand and arm problems limiting their activities.  With the total number of UK stroke survivors over 1 millions persons already, this is a challenge for society as a whole, as well as those affected.

When we also consider that Spinal Cord Injury, Peripheral Nerve Injury, Chronic Pain Syndrome and trauma also affect the hands of thousands, isn’t it about time we had efficient and effective aids and rehabilitation tools? And what about conditions like MS, Rheumatoid arthritis and even the effects of ageing that impact so powerfully on quality of life?

The Carbonhand consists of two main parts:

  • Glove : The main purpose of the glove is to apply the forces generated by the motors in the control unit and to provide the control unit with sensory input from touch sensors at the fingertips. The forces are applied by artificial tendons that are sewn into the glove along the length of the fingers.
  • Control unit : The control unit contains a rechargeable battery power source, one motor for each finger which receives extra force and a micro-controller that controls the SEM™ Glove’s functionality.

Who Should Use it?
The Carbonhand is a medical device designed to be used by any person with a weak grip.  People may suffer from impaired grip strength for countless reasons, such as muscle and nerve damage, muscle diseases, rheumatism and pain. The product strengthens the grip and either compensates where power is lacking or adds extra force and endurance.

 Carbonhand - wear it and forget it

Carbonhand – wear it and forget it

Who Can’t Use it?
The main reason that the product would be ineffective is a complete paralysis of the hand. The sensors in the fingers respond to the user’s intention and ability to apply pressure to the object being gripped. If the person can’t use the fingers at all, the device cannot sense the users intention.

How Do I Try it?
We first must assess if the device is suitable for you. If it is, we will be able to adjust the settings so they suit your current grip issues.  You will wear a snugly fitting glove on your affected hand.  The thumb and two fingers have pressure sensors in the tips that are essential to the glove’s function. A cable bundle connects the glove to a control pack that sits, for example, on your belt. Rechargeable batteries deliver around 8 hours use.  Because the sensors in the glove operate based on touch pressure, you can wear another protective glove over the Carbonhand if necessary for, let’s say, a particular work situation.

PRICING
UK Pricing is based on a Euro exchange rate with a system package of a control unit, appropriate size glove, batteries, battery charger and manual currently costing around £6,000.  As the price will vary with the exchange rate please check with us for accurate price information.

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All UK potential clients will be asked to complete the PRE ASSESSMENT Form here

via Carbonhand — Anatomical Concepts (UK)

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[Abstract] Design and Evaluation of a Soft and Wearable Robotic Glove for Hand Rehabilitation

Abstract

In the modern world, due to an increased aging population, hand disability is becoming increasingly common. The prevalence of conditions such as stroke is placing an ever-growing burden on the limited fiscal resources of health care providers and the capacity of their physical therapy staff. As a solution, this paper presents a novel design for a wearable and adaptive glove for patients so that they can practice rehabilitative activities at home, reducing the workload for therapists and increasing the patient’s independence. As an initial evaluation of the design’s feasibility the prototype was subjected to motion analysis to compare its performance with the hand in an assessment of grasping patterns of a selection of blocks and spheres. The outcomes of this paper suggest that the theory of design has validity and may lead to a system that could be successful in the treatment of stroke patients to guide them through finger flexion and extension, which could enable them to gain more control and confidence in interacting with the world around them.

I. Introduction

In the modern world an extended life expectancy coupled with a sedentary lifestyle raises concerns over long term health in the population. This is highlighted by the increasing incidence of disability stemming from multiple sources, for example medical conditions such as cancer or stroke [1]. While avoiding the lifestyle factors that have a high association with these diseases would be the preferred solutions of health services the world over, as populations get progressively older and more sedentary, this becomes increasingly more difficult [1], [2]. The treatment of these conditions is often complex; in stroke for example, the initial incident is a constriction of blood flow in the brain which in turn damages the nervous system’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body. This damage will occur in one hemisphere of the body but can impact both the upper and lower limbs, as well as impairing functional processes such as speech and cognitive thinking.

 

via Design and Evaluation of a Soft and Wearable Robotic Glove for Hand Rehabilitation – IEEE Journals & Magazine

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[WEB SITE] Symbitron | Symbiotic man-machine interaction in wearable exoskeletons to enhance mobility for paraplegics – CORDIS Project

Welcome to the Symbitron project website! Our main goals are:

  • To develop a safe, bio-inspired, personalized wearable exoskeleton that enables SCI patients to walk without additional assistance, by complementing their remaining motor function
  • To develop training environments and training protocols for SCI patients and their clinicians
  • To provide clinical proof of concept for safety and functionality of the system

WE2_S01720p

Video of one of the test pilots with a complete spinal cord injury, walking in WE2 (ankle, knee and hip actuation)


General information

Symbitron – Symbiotic man-machine interactions in wearable exoskeletons to enhance mobility for paraplegics

Project Coordination: University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands

Project Coordinator: Herman van der Kooij (University of Twente)

Project Partners: see Consortium

E-mail: info at symbitron dot eu

Funding: European Union, Seventh Framework Programme

                 FP7-ICT-2013-10, ID 661626

Start date: October 1st, 2013

Duration: 48 months

EU funding: 3.099.898

Tree-Clouds-4cm-4cm-300dpi-RVBThe Symbitron project is part of the “Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)” programme of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/future-emerging-technologies-fet.

Objectives

A)  To develop an integrated neuromuscular model that describes the physiology of healthy versus impaired human gait (WP2)

B)  To design and manufacture personalised modular exoskeletons that compensate for SCI impairments (WP3)

C)  To develop personalised human inspired neuro-muscular controllers for the wearable exoskeletons (WP4)

D)  To optimise the design & control, and bi-directional symbiotic man-machine interaction of wearable exoskeletons (WP5)

E)  To determine the safety and functionality of the personalised SYMBITRON wearable exoskeletons in a clinical study (WP6)

F) To disseminate key findings to relevant stakeholders and to secure IP protection and exploitation of valuable innovatins (WP7)

Symbitron objectivesVisit Site —>  Symbitron | Symbiotic man-machine interaction

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[Abstract + References] A New Approach to Design Glove-Like Wearable Hand Exoskeletons for Rehabilitation – Conference paper

Abstract

The synthesis of hand exoskeletons for rehabilitation is a challenging theoretical and technical task. A huge number of solutions have been proposed in the literature. Most of them are based on the concept to consider the phalanges of the finger as fixed to some links of the exoskeleton mechanism. This approach makes the exoskeleton synthesis a difficult problem that compels the designer to devise approximate technical solutions which, frequently, reduce the efficiency of the rehabilitation system and are rather bulky.

This paper proposes a different approach. Namely, the phalanges are not fixed to some links of the exoskeleton, but they can have a relative motion, with one or two degrees of freedom when planar systems are considered. An example is presented to show the potentiality of this approach, which makes it possible: (i) to design glove-like exoskeletons that only approximate the human finger motion; (ii) to leave the fingers have their natural motion; (iii) to adapt a wider range of patient hand sizes to a given hand exoskeleton.

References

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    Agarwal, P., Hechanova, A., Deshpande, A.D.: Kinematics and Dynamics of a biologically inspired index finger exoskeleton. In: Proceedings of the ASME 2013 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference DSCC 2013, Palo Alto, CA, USA, pp. 1–10 (2013)Google Scholar
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    Heo, P., Min, GuG, Lee, S.J., Rhee, K., Kim, J.: Current hand exoskeleton technologies for rehabilitation and assistive engineering. Int. J. Precis. Eng. Manuf. 3(5), 807–824 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Balasubramanian, S., Klein, J., Burdet, E.: Robot-assisted rehabilitation and hand function. Curr. Opin. Neurol. 23, 661–670 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Troncossi, M., Mozaffari-Foumashi, M., Parenti-Castelli, V.: An original classification of rehabilitation hand exoskeletons. J. Robot. Mech. Eng. Res. 1(4), 17–29 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Abdallah, I.B., Bouteraa, Y., Rekik, C.: Design and development of 3D printed myoelectric robotic exoskeleton for hand rehabilitation. Int. J. Smart Sens. Intell. Syst. 10(2), 341–366 (2017)Google Scholar
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    Foumashi, M., Troncossi, M., Parenti-Castelli, V.: Design of a new hand exo-skeleton for rehabilitation of post-stroke patients. In: Romansy 19-Robot Design, Dynamics and Control, pp. 159–169 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Yap, H.K., Hoon, J., Nashrallah, F., Goh, J.C.H., Yeow, R.C.H.: A soft exoskeleton for hand assistive and rehabilitation application using pneumatic actuators with variable stiffness. In: 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA, Seattle, Washington, USA, pp. 4967–4972 (2015)Google Scholar
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    Arata, J., Ohmoto, K., Gassert, R., Lambercy, O., Fujimoto, H., Wada, I.: A new hand exoskeleton device for rehabilitation using a three-layered sliding spring mechanism. In: 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, ICRA, Karlsruhe, Germany, pp. 3902–3907 (2013)Google Scholar
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    Leonardis, D., Barsotti, M., Loconsole, C., Solazzi, M., Troncossi, M., Mazzotti, M., Parenti, C.V., Procopio, C., Lamola, G., Chisari, C., Bergamasco, M., Frisoli, A.: An EMG-controlled robotic hand exoskeleton for bilateral rehabilitation. J. Haptics 8(2), 140–151 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Gulke, J., Watcher, N.J., Geyer, T., Scholl, H., Apic, G., Mentzler, M., et al.: Motion coordination pattern during cylinder grip analyzed with a sensor glove. J. Hand Surg. 35(5), 797 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Li, J., Wang, S., Zheng, R., Zhang, Y., Chen, Z.: Development of a hand exoskeleton system for index finger rehabilitation. Chin. J. Mech. Eng. 25(2), 223–233 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

via A New Approach to Design Glove-Like Wearable Hand Exoskeletons for Rehabilitation | SpringerLink

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[BLOG POST] AlterEgo: A New Wearable Device Responds To Your Thoughts – Video

A man seen wearing the wearable alterego on this face.

Ever said “you read my mind!” to someone who said the same thing you were just about to say? Researchers at MIT are making this a reality. A new wearable invented at MIT, called AlterEgo, is a device that sits on your ear, loops behind it, and attaches to your face. What’s special about this device is that it recognizes non-verbal prompts – things that you are thinking in your mind, and responds to them. This wearable device also attaches to a computer system that translates your thoughts into a command that is understood by it, thus prompting a response.

There are certain locations on your face that generate neuromuscular signals when you think about something. Researchers working on AlterEgo worked on identifying those locations – first they found that 7 different location were consistently able to distinguish internal verbalization, and with more experiments, they started finding comparable results with just four locations, which meant that the wearable wasn’t going all over your face with electrodes and being intrusive. After identifying those signals, they sent them to a computer that could translate and analyze them, and eventually associating them with different words. The wearable responds, either in the form of an action, or in the form of an audible answer. For example, you may be looking at your Netflix screen on your TV and wanting to browse through all of the movies displayed. Just thinking “right” would make the Netflix screen to navigate to the next displayed movie. Similarly, just saying “what is the time?” to yourself in your mind will make the wearable say the time out loud to you. What’s also interesting is that the wearable uses bone conducting headphones which means that your ear is still available to you for any other conversation you may be having with another person. The researchers also tried it with a game of Chess (the user would just think about the opponent’s move and the wearable would respond by suggesting the next move), and with basic arithmetic operations.

Currently, AlterEgo has the accuracy of 92%, and responds to around 20 words. The researchers are confident that this wearable would learn more words with more training data, and would scale up very soon in the near future.

Of course, this wearable can be used by any non-verbal person, and someone who cannot operate a device (and control the device with just their thought), but other applications of this device could be communicating with others in extremely loud environments (air traffic personnel  directing flights on the tarmac or at a concert) where there would be no need to speak – just your thoughts would be communicated to the other person!

Watch the video below to learn more about the current prototype and go to the source links to learn more about AlterEgo.

Source: The Verge, MIT News

 

via AlterEgo: A New Wearable Device Responds To Your Thoughts – Assistive Technology Blog

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[VIDEO] This wearable brain scanner could transform our understanding of how neurons ‘talk’

By Michael Price Mar. 21, 2018 
Mapping the chattering of neurons is a tricky undertaking. Arguably the best tool for eavesdropping in real time—by detecting the weak magnetic fields emitted by communicating neurons—comes with a huge caveat: Participants must keep their heads absolutely still inside an enormous scanner. That makes the method, magnetoencephalography (MEG), a no-go for young children, and it nixes studying brain behavior while people are moving. Now, scientists have developed the first device to solve those problems, a masklike instrument that can transmit brain signals even when the wearer is moving.

Despite some limits on how much of the brain’s activity can be mapped at once, neuroscientists are excited. “This is remarkable,” says MEG researcher Matti Hamalainen of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who wasn’t involved in the study. “MEG is moving forward conceptually into a new era.”

When neurons interact with one another, their weak electrical current generates a tiny magnetic field. To measure it with conventional MEG, scientists have people stick their heads inside a scanner like an “old-style hair dryer at a salon,” explains physicist Richard Bowtell of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. Inside the scanner are superconductors, loops of ultrasensitive magnetic sensors that need to be kept extremely cold by liquid helium.

It’s an incredibly powerful technology, Bowtell says, but a person moving just 5 millimeters will ruin any attempt to read their brain activity. To study the brain during motion-related tasks, MEG researchers have devised ingenious ways to simulate movement in virtual reality.

To work around such workarounds, Bowtell’s team created a wearable 3D-printed mask that, instead of using superconductors as sensors, relies on 13 small glass cubes filled with vaporized rubidium. These optically pumped magnetometers (OPMs) get to work when a laser pulses through the vapor, lining up the atoms in its path. When neural current from the brain generates a small magnetic field, it knocks the atoms out of formation. A sensor on the other side measures fluctuations in the light from the laser to paint a map of brain activity.

Elena Boto, a physicist at the University of Nottingham, was the first to try the mask out. To compare it to a conventional scanner, she performed a series of tasks—including bending and pointing her finger, drinking from a cup, and bouncing a ball on a paddle—while using both devices. Even though her head bobbed to and fro in the mask, the brain activity recorded was practically identical to that of the fixed scanner, the researchers report today in Nature.

Some challenges remain. To counteract interference from Earth’s magnetic field, researchers had to set up two large panels with magnetic coils on either side of the mask, limiting Boto’s range of motion. Expanding the range of motion to allow for something like walking is a technically difficult chore.

But the biggest hurdle is cost. The OPM sensors, designed and manufactured by QuSpin of Louisville, Colorado, are expensive, each costing about $7000. The 13 sensors in the current mask could target only one region of the brain at a time—many dozens more would be needed to give scientists full-brain coverage. The cost of doing that, nearly $1 million, would be prohibitively expensive for many researchers, Bowtell says, though he expects the price to drop as the technology matures.

But Timothy Roberts, a neuroradiologist who works with children with autism at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, says MEG masks like this one would be worth it. Neuroscientists could one day use them to track early brain development or to record brain signals in adults with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Or, says Roberts, to finally get a good look at the brain activity of his often fidgety patients. “Asking a child with autism to sit still is not very easy. Asking a toddler to sit still is impossible. … I think this work is transformative.”

via This wearable brain scanner could transform our understanding of how neurons ‘talk’ | Science | AAAS

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[Abstract] Efficacy of Short-Term Robot-Assisted Rehabilitation in Patients With Hand Paralysis After Stroke: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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, 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.

via Efficacy of Short-Term Robot-Assisted Rehabilitation in Patients With Hand Paralysis After Stroke: A Randomized Clinical Trial – Jorge H. Villafañe, Giovanni Taveggia, Silvia Galeri, Luciano Bissolotti, Chiara Mullè, Grace Imperio, Kristin Valdes, Alberto Borboni, Stefano Negrini, 2018

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[ARTICLE] Pilot testing of the spring operated wearable enhancer for arm rehabilitation (SpringWear) – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Robotic devices for neurorehabilitation of movement impairments in persons with stroke have been studied extensively. However, the vast majority of these devices only allow practice of stereotyped components of simulated functional tasks in the clinic. Previously we developed SpringWear, a wearable, spring operated, upper extremity exoskeleton capable of assisting movements during real-life functional activities, potentially in the home. SpringWear assists shoulder flexion, elbow extension and forearm supination/pronation. The assistance profiles were designed to approximate the torque required to move the joint passively through its range. These three assisted DOF are combined with two passive shoulder DOF, allowing complex multi-joint movement patterns.

Methods

We performed a cross-sectional study to assess changes in movement patterns when assisted by SpringWear. Thirteen persons with chronic stroke performed range of motion (ROM) and functional tasks, including pick and place tasks with various objects. Sensors on the device measured rotation at all 5 DOF and a kinematic model calculated position of the wrist relative to the shoulder. Within subject t-tests were used to determine changes with assistance from SpringWear.

Results

Maximum shoulder flexion, elbow extension and forearm pronation/supination angles increased significantly during both ROM and functional tasks (p < 0.002). Elbow flexion/extension ROM also increased significantly (p < 0.001). When the subjects volitionally held up the arm against gravity, extension at the index finger proximal interphalangeal joint increased significantly (p = 0.033) when assisted by SpringWear. The forward reach workspace increased 19% (p = 0.002). Nine subjects could not complete the functional tasks unassisted and only one showed improvement on task completion with SpringWear.

Conclusions

SpringWear increased the usable workspace during reaching movements, but there was no consistent improvement in the ability to complete functional tasks. Assistance levels at the shoulder were increased only until the shoulder could be voluntarily held at 90 degrees of flexion. A higher level of assistance may have yielded better results. Also combining SpringWear with HandSOME, an exoskeleton for assisting hand opening, may yield the most dramatic improvements in functional task performance. These low-cost devices can potentially reduce effort and improve performance during task practice, increasing adherence to home training programs for rehabilitation.

Background

There are 800,000 new strokes in the United States each year [1]. Many survivors experience debilitating motor impairments in the upper extremity that negatively affect functional capacity and quality of life. Impairments can include weakness [2] and lack of coordination between different muscle groups [3]. Fifty percent of stroke survivors older than 64 have persistent hemiparesis at six months post-stroke and 26% are dependent in activities of daily living (ADL) [1]. Unfortunately, a very high level of upper extremity motor control may be needed before the impaired limb is actually incorporated into ADL. Stroke patients often appear to have adequate movement ability when observed in the laboratory, but don’t use the limb with the expected regularity [4].

Neurorehabilitation of these impairments is possible with task-specific repetitive movement practice that incorporates high repetition, volitional effort, and successful completion of tasks to prevent frustration and maintain motivation [5]. Robotics has been studied extensively as a means of assisting movements with forces applied to the limb, allowing completion of movements that would otherwise be impossible to complete unassisted. A recent meta-analysis of 34 studies including 1160 subjects found that robotic devices produced larger gains in arm function, strength and ADL ability than comparison interventions [6]. However, authors concluded the advantages of robotic therapy may not be clinically relevant. The vast majority of these studies involved patients traveling to the clinic on a regimented schedule to practice components of tasks. Home-based approaches may be more effective in increasing the amount of limb use, in particular devices that can assist movements while subjects perform real-world ADL.

Many robotic treatments involve providing partial support of the arm against gravity to enable practice of reaching within a larger workspace [78]. This approach is motivated by research that has shown that many stroke patients have an abnormal synergy whereby elevation of the shoulder against gravity impairs the ability to extend the elbow [91011]. More recently, work has shown an abnormal coupling of proximal and distal arm muscles, such that activation level of proximal muscles and level of arm support can affect control of hand and wrist muscles [1213]. However current robotic approaches that provide gravity compensation do not allow practice of tasks in real-world environments, such as in the home, while standing or when performing bimanual tasks. Also, the provision of gravity support may not completely overcome distal weakness in elbow extension and forearm supination [14]. Additionally, many robotic paradigms rely on repetitive performance of components of functional tasks, for example, planar reaching movements. This contradicts motor learning studies that suggest retention and generalization of skills requires task variability [151617].

In previous work we developed a wearable passively actuated hand exoskeleton (HandSOME) that increases finger ROM and function [1819]. However, some subjects were found to be inappropriate for HandSOME because of proximal weakness, and while the HandSOME enabled adequate range of motion at the fingers, some subjects had difficulty supinating the forearm enough to properly grasp certain objects. Furthermore, finger extension ability would degrade as the arm was lifted against gravity. This motivated the development of a wearable arm exoskeleton called the spring-operated wearable enhancer (SpringWear). Springs apply an angle-dependent torque to the joints, with the goal of increasing ROM, repertoire of possible movements, task variability and success in completing tasks.

Overall, the goal was to enable effective use of the impaired limb in the home environment, thereby allowing patients a highly variable, but meaningful task practice. SpringWear can also reduce effort in task completion promoting greater adherence to home practice schedules. At the shoulder, SpringWear provides partial gravity compensation, which reduces the muscle forces at the shoulder needed to lift the arm. With proper selection of assistance level, the initiation and control of movements are still under patient control but less effort is needed and a larger ROM can be achieved. At the elbow, patients often can flex the joint, but have limited extension, so extension torques are applied to increase elbow extension range. A similar strategy is used to assist forearm supination/pronation. In order to benefit from SpringWear, patients should have some active movement at the joints, but for profoundly weak patients, this approach will not be effective. In these patients, powered exoskeletons may be needed, since they can move the limb throughout a larger workspace than spring powered devices. However, powered devices are much more expensive and complicated to integrate into a wearable device and compact designs are often high impedance, requiring sensors to infer the patient’s intended movement trajectory, which may be difficult in very low level patients.

In this study, chronic stroke patients performed a number of tasks with and without assistance from the SpringWear, and the kinematics of the movements were compared. If successful, SpringWear combined with HandSOME, may provide an inexpensive home-based intervention for a wide range of severe to moderately impaired stroke patients.

Methods

SpringWear design

An upper limb exoskeleton, in general, needs to be adaptable to different segment lengths and have a high number of DOFs in order to allow realistic movement practice with many anatomical joint axes involved [20]. With five DOFs, SpringWear was designed to provide assistance to forearm supination/pronation, elbow extension, shoulder flexion, while providing passive joints for shoulder horizontal abduction/adduction and internal/external rotation to allow realistic upper limb movements (Fig. 1). The design uses rubber bands or bungee cords as springs to provide the assistance. These profiles can be customized for each subject by adjusting the stiffness of the springs, which is dependent on impairment level.

 

Fig. 1 Full Assembly of SpringWear with back splint. Double-headed arrows represents five degrees of freedom. Assistance was applied at shoulder FE, elbow FE, and supination/pronation

[…]

Continue —> Pilot testing of the spring operated wearable enhancer for arm rehabilitation (SpringWear) | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

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[ARTICLE] Wearable robotic exoskeleton for overground gait training in sub-acute and chronic hemiparetic stroke patients: preliminary results – Full Text PDF

BACKGROUND: Recovery of therapeutic or functional ambulatory capacity in post-stroke patients is a primary goal of rehabilitation. Wearable powered exoskeletons allow patients with gait dysfunctions to perform over-ground gait training, even immediately after the acute event.
AIM: To investigate the feasibility and the clinical effects of an over-ground walking training with a wearable powered exoskeleton in sub-acute and chronic stroke patients.
DESIGN: Prospective, pilot pre-post, open label, non-randomized experimental study.
SETTING: A single neurological rehabilitation center for inpatients and outpatients.
POPULATION: Twenty-three post-stroke patients were enrolled: 12 sub-acute (mean age: 43.8±13.3 years, 5 male and 7 female, 7 right hemiparesis and 5 left hemiparesis) and 11 chronic (mean age: 55.5±15.9 years, 7 male and 4 female, 4 right hemiparesis and 7 left hemiparesis) patients.
METHODS: Patients underwent 12 sessions (60 min/session, 3 times/week) of walking rehabilitation training using Ekso™, a wearable bionic suit that enables individuals with lower extremity disabilities and minimal forearm strength to stand up, sit down and walk over a flat hard surface with a full weight-bearing reciprocal gait. Clinical evaluations were performed at the beginning of the training period (t0), after 6 sessions (t1) and after 12 sessions (t2) and were based on the Ashworth scale, Motricity Index, Trunk Control Test, Functional Ambulation Scale, 10-Meter Walking Test, 6-Minute Walking Test, and Walking Handicap Scale. Wilcoxon’s test (P<0.05) was used to detect significant changes.
RESULTS: Statistically significant improvements were observed at the three assessment periods for both groups in Motricity Index, Functional Ambulation Scale, 10-meter walking test, and 6-minute walking test. Sub-acute patients achieved statistically significant improvement in Trunk Control Test and Walking Handicap Scale at t0-t2. Sub-acute and chronic patient did not achieve significant improvement in Ashworth scale at t0-t2.
CONCLUSIONS: Twelve sessions of over-ground gait training using a powered wearable robotic exoskeleton improved ambulatory functions in sub-acute and chronic post-stroke patients. Large, randomized multicenter studies are needed to confirm these preliminary data.
CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: To plan a completely new individual tailored robotic rehabilitation strategy after stroke, including task-oriented over-ground gait training.

Full Text PDF

via Wearable robotic exoskeleton for overground gait training in sub-acute and chronic hemiparetic stroke patients: preliminary results – European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine 2017 October;53(5):676-84 – Minerva Medica – Journals

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[WEB SITE] Wearable Robot Provides Artificial Muscle Power – Rehab Managment

(a) Overview of wearing set-up of the assist wear. (b) Structure of the multilayered PVC gel actuator with two types of anode mesh electrodes. The red layer with small holes is comprised of slide electrodes to minimize the friction with the slide shafts. (c) Contraction and expansion movement of the stretching type actuator with the DC field turned on and off. (d) FlexiForce sensor-based motion detection (position estimator). (e) Power and controller. (Photo courtesy of Hashimoto laboratory)

(a) Overview of wearing set-up of the assist wear. (b) Structure of the multilayered PVC gel actuator with two types of anode mesh electrodes. The red layer with small holes is comprised of slide electrodes to minimize the friction with the slide shafts. (c) Contraction and expansion movement of the stretching type actuator with the DC field turned on and off. (d) FlexiForce sensor-based motion detection (position estimator). (e) Power and controller. (Photo courtesy of Hashimoto laboratory)

A collaborative research team from Shinshu University in Japan has designed a wearable robot to support a person’s hip joint while walking. Details of their prototype are published in Smart Materials and Structures.

“With a rapidly aging society, an increasing number of elderly people require care after suffering from stroke, and other-age related disabilities. Various technologies, devices, and robots are emerging to aid caretakers,” writes team leader Minoru Hashimoto, a professor of textile science and technology at Shinshu University, noting that several technologies meant to assist a person with walking are often cumbersome to the user.

“[In our] current study, [we] sought to develop a lightweight, soft, wearable assist wear for supporting activities of daily life for older people with weakened muscles and those with mobility issues,” he adds, in a media release from Shinshu University.

The wearable system consists of plasticized polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gel, mesh electrodes, and applied voltage. The mesh electrodes sandwich the gel, and when voltage is applied, the gel flexes and contracts, like a muscle. It’s a wearable actuator, the mechanism that causes movement.

“We thought that the electrical mechanical properties of the PVC gel could be used for robotic artificial muscles, so we started researching the PVC gel,” Hashimoto notes. “The ability to add voltage to PVC gel is especially attractive for high speed movement, and the gel moves with high speed with just a few hundred volts.”

In a preliminary evaluation, a stroke patient with some paralysis on one side of his body walked with and without the wearable system.

“We found that the assist wear enabled natural movement, increasing step length and decreasing muscular activity during straight line walking,” Hashimoto states. The researchers also found that adjusting the charge could change the level of assistance the actuator provides.

The robotic system earned first place in demonstrations with their multilayer PVC gel artificial muscle at the, “24th International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials & Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring” for SPIE the international society for optics and photonics.

Next, the researchers plan to create a string actuator using the PVC gel, which could potentially lead to the development of fabric capable of providing more manageable external muscular support with ease, the release continues.

[Source(s): Shinshu University, Science Daily]

via Wearable Robot Provides Artificial Muscle Power – Rehab Managment

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