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Volume 43 Number 5, August/September 2006
Pages 583 — 590


Abstract - Passive exoskeletons for assisting limb movement

Tariq Rahman, PhD;1* Whitney Sample;1 Shanmuga Jayakumar, MD;2 Marilyn Marnie King;3 Jin Yong Wee;4 Rahamim Seliktar, PhD;4 Michael Alexander, MD;5 Mena Scavina, DO;6 Alisa Clark6

Departments of 1Biomedical Research, 2Orthopedics, and 3Occupational Therapy, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE; 4School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA; Departments of 5Rehabilitation Medicine and 6Neurology, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE
Abstract — This article presents the state of the art in passive devices for enhancing limb movement in people with neuromuscular disabilities. Both upper- and lower-limb projects and devices are described. Special emphasis is placed on a passive functional upper-limb orthosis called the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX). The development and testing of the WREX with children with limited arm strength are described. The exoskeleton has two links and 4 degrees of freedom. It uses linear elastic elements that balance the effects of gravity in three dimensions. The experiences of five children with arthrogryposis who used the WREX are described.
Key words: arthrogryposis, contractures, elbow flexion, exoskeleton, gravity balancing, orthosis, passivity, pediatrics, rehabilitation, robotics.

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