A Wearable Soft Robotic System for Continuous Passive Motion in Post-Stroke Hand Rehabilitation


This proposal is focusing on development of a portable, feedback controlled, programmable hand rehabilitation unit for continuous passive motion (CPM) and active resistive motion (ARM) with capabilities of recording the range of motion and stiffens of finger joints. Initial focus is to apply the devise for with neurologically impaired hands. About 800,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year and 30% to 66% of all stroke survivors have impaired hand functions. Robotic rehabilitation devices have been investigated to perform exercises to recover lost functions and have shown promising preliminary results. However, a device that can perform CPM for opening and closing the hand, operating with adjustable force and speed of movement, and control over individual joints is not commercially available. UTARI has developed a soft robotic hand rehabilitation prototype that can provide the requirements for CPM therapy. The research proposed here aims to investigate the dynamic interaction between the hand and the prototype, improve the prototypes for clinical testing, and evaluate safety, comfort, and efficacy through a small scale pilot study. The impacts of a portable, lightweight, and adaptable device for directed hand therapy are far reaching. Through our proposed work we will develop and validate a device with these capabilities and direct feedback to the user indicating joint position. Hand therapy is an expensive and specific service that is not available to all patients where device based therapy could revolutionize standard care of hand rehabilitation.

Muthu Wijesundara, Ph.D. UTA
Nicoleta Bugnariu, PT, Ph.D. UNTHSC
Timothy Niacaris, MD, Ph.D. UNTHSC
Rita Patterson, Ph.D. UNTHSC

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