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Title: A Pneumatically Actuated Brace Designed For Upper Extremity Stroke Rehabilitation
Authors: Merritt, Carey Reid
Advisors: Dr. Mark White, Committee Member
Dr. Edward Grant, Committee Chair
Dr. Alexander Dean, Committee Member
Keywords: bang-bang
McKibben artificial muscle
air muscles
upper extremity
stroke rehabilitation
Issue Date: 7-Jul-2003
Degree: MS
Discipline: Computer Engineering
Abstract: Nearly 700,000 people suffered from stroke last year and those who survived were left with any number of disabilities. One of the most common disabilities in stroke is paralysis of the upper arm. Since therapy for this disability is expensive, patients are finding rehabilitation difficult to afford and manage. This thesis proposes an inexpensive pneumatic wearable garment for the patient to use for stroke rehabilitation. Unlike most rehabilitation robots, which are large, non-compliant, and expensive, this device will enable the patient to purchase the garment and move freely within their own home while rehabilitating their affected arm. In this thesis, a wearable elbow device similar to the proposed wearable garment was designed using an inexpensive elbow brace. The elbow brace used custom made artificial air muscles also known as McKibben Artificial Muscles to substitute for the biceps and triceps, which are responsible for flexion and extension of the human elbow. These artificial muscles were chosen for their low-cost, compliance, lightweight, and large force capabilities. The air muscles were designed and developed especially for this device and cost less than $3.00 to make and weigh approximately 11 g. This pneumatically actuated elbow brace was controlled using solenoid valves in conjunction with a Mitsubishi M32/83C 16-bit micro controller to achieve flexion and extension of the elbow. Experiments on the pneumatic elbow brace have shown that it is capable of moving a passive patient's arm within a 110° range, which is adequate for rehabilitation of the elbow.
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