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Design of a wearable rehabilitation robot integrated with functional electrical stimulation

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5 Author(s)
Xikai Tu ; Neural Interface & Rehabilitation Technol. Res. Center, Huazhong Univ. of Sci. & Technol., Wuhan, China ; Jian Huang ; Liguo Yu ; Qi Xu
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Robot-assisted rehabilitation is an active area of research to meet the demand of repetitive therapy in stroke rehabilitation. A wearable upper limb rehabilitation robot is most suitable for this task but needs to be powered by safe and compliant actuators while maintaining overall light weight and accommodating energy efficient dynamic form factor. In this study, we explore an integrative rehabilitation strategy for training patients to practice coordinated reaching and grasping functions by using a hybrid design to reduce the size and weight of the robot. The hybrid technology of the wearable upper limb rehabilitation robot and functional electrical stimulation has many technical and clinical advantages but is yet to be systematically investigated. A properly designed FES can induce active movements while inhibit abnormal reflexes. This is a promising approach to alleviate the actuation power demand of the robot, thereby the size and weight of the robot may be significantly reduced. Most important, the mechanical complexity of the robot may also be limited. We explored the concept of the hybrid design in this preliminary report. The future research is discussed for design principle of how to take advantage of each technique in developing a more energy efficient and functional effective hybrid FES and robot assisted system.

Published in:

Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob), 2012 4th IEEE RAS & EMBS International Conference on

Date of Conference:

24-27 June 2012