Pre-therapeutic Device for Post-stroke Hemiplegic Patients’ Wrist and Finger Rehabilitation
*Corresponding Author: Jaehyo Kim, Professor, School of Mechanical and Control Engineering, Handong Global University, Korea. Email: email@example.com
This paper suggests a pre-therapeutic device for post-stroke hemiplegic patients’ wrist and finger rehabilitation both to decrease and analyze their muscle tones before the main physical or occupational therapy.
We designed a robot which consists of a BLDC motor, a torque sensor, linear motion guides and bearings. Mechanical structure of the robot induces flexion and extension of wrist and finger (MCP) joints simultaneously with the single motor. The frames of the robot were 3D printed. During the flexion/extension exercise, angular position and repulsive torque of the joints are measured and displayed in real time.
A prototype was 3D printed to conduct preliminary experiment on normal subject. From the neutral joint position (midway between extension and flexion), the robot rotated 120 degrees to extension direction and 30 degrees to flexion direction. First, the subject used the machine with the usual wrist and finger characteristics without any tones. Second, the same subject intentionally gave strength to the joints in order to imitate affected upper limb of a hemiplegic patient. During extension exercise, maximum repulsive torque of the normal hand was 2 Nm whereas that of the firm hand was almost 5 Nm. The result revealed that the device was capable enough to not only rotate rigid wrist and fingers with the novel robotic structure, but also present quantitative data such as the repulsive torque according to the joint orientation as an index of joint spasticity level.
We are planning to improve the system by applying torque control and arranging experiments at hospitals to obtain patients’ data and feedbacks to meet actual needs in the field.
Stroke, Hemiplegia, Rehabilitation, Robotics, Wrist, Finger.