Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 46 Number 5, 2009
   Pages 587 — 602

Abstract – Design and validation of low-cost assistive glove for hand assessment and therapy during activity of daily living-focused robotic stroke therapy

Dominic E. Nathan, MS;1-2 Michelle J. Johnson, PhD;1-3* John R. McGuire, MD3

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI; 2Rehabilitation Robotic Research Design Laboratory, Clement J. Zablocki Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI; 3Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Abstract — Hand and arm impairment is common after stroke. Robotic stroke therapy will be more effective if hand and upper-arm training is integrated to help users practice reaching and grasping tasks. This article presents the design, development, and validation of a low-cost, functional electrical stimulation grasp-assistive glove for use with task-oriented robotic stroke therapy. Our glove measures grasp aperture while a user completes simple-to-complex real-life activities, and when combined with an integrated functional electrical stimulator, it assists in hand opening and closing. A key function is a new grasp-aperture prediction model, which uses the position of the end-effectors of two planar robots to define the distance between the thumb and index finger. We validated the accuracy and repeatability of the glove and its capability to assist in grasping. Results from five nondisabled subjects indicated that the glove is accurate and repeatable for both static hand-open and -closed tasks when compared with goniometric measures and for dynamic reach-to-grasp tasks when compared with motion analysis measures. Results from five subjects with stroke showed that with the glove, they could open their hands but without it could not. We present a glove that is a low-cost solution for in vivo grasp measurement and assistance.

Key words: functional electrical stimulation, grasp-assistive device, hand therapy, motion analysis, reach to grasp, rehabilitation, robotic stroke therapy, stroke, upper limb, validation.

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