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Vol. 37 No. 6, September/October 2000

A body-powered functional upper limb orthosis

Tariq Rahman, PhD; Whitney Sample; Rahamim Seliktar, PhD; Michael Alexander, MD; Mena Scavina, DO

Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, 1600 Rockland Road, Wilmington, DE 19899; School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University, 32nd and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Abstract — This paper describes the development and preliminary testing of a functional upper-limb orthosis for people that have limited strength in their arms. This is symptomatic of conditions such as muscular dystrophy (MD), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), and partial spinal cord injury. The exoskeletal orthosis is wheelchair mounted, has two links and four degrees of freedom. It uses linear elastic elements to balance out the effects of gravity in three dimensions. Preliminary results on testing with ten subjects will be presented.

Key words: exoskeleton, gravity balancing, neuromuscular weakness, orthosis

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