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Hand Spring Operated Movement Enhancer (HandSOME): A Portable, Passive Hand Exoskeleton for Stroke Rehabilitation

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4 Author(s)
Elizabeth B. Brokaw ; National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington DC, USA ; Iian Black ; Rahsaan J. Holley ; Peter S. Lum

Stroke patients often have flexor hypertonia and finger extensor weakness, which makes it difficult to open their affected hand for functional grasp. Because of this impairment, hand rehabilitation after stroke is essential for restoring functional independent lifestyles. The goal of this study is to develop a passive, lightweight, wearable device to assist with hand function during performance of activities of daily living. The device, Hand Spring Operated Movement Enhancer (HandSOME), assists with opening the patient's hand using a series of elastic cords that apply extension torques to the finger joints and compensates for the flexor hypertonia. Device design and calibration are described as well as functional and usability testing with stroke subjects with a wide range of hand impairments. In initial testing with eight stroke subjects with finger flexor hypertonia, use of the HandSOME significantly increased range of motion (p <; 0.001) and functional ability (p=0.002) . There was some decrease in grip strength with the HandSOME device at the subject's ideal setting, however this was not statistically significant (p=0.167) and did not seem to have a significant effect on function. Overall HandSOME shows promise as a training tool to facilitate repetitive task practice for improving hand function in stroke patients. HandSOME can be used as part of a home-based therapy program, or as an orthotic for replacing lost function.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering  (Volume:19 ,  Issue: 4 )