Using Robotic Hand Technology for the Rehabilitation of Recovering Stroke Patients with Loss of Hand Power

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Title: Using Robotic Hand Technology for the Rehabilitation of Recovering Stroke Patients with Loss of Hand Power
Author: Li, Zheng
Advisors: Dr. H. Troy Nagle, Committee Member
Dr. Ola L. A. Harrysson, Committee Member
Dr. John F. Muth, Committee Member
Dr. Edward Grant, Committee Chair
Abstract: Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly 700,000 people suffered from stroke last year and two thirds of them survived but were left with any number of disabilities, one such disability is upper extremity hemiplegia. If the hand and arm doesn't have therapy immediately after stroke, it will lose it power and muscle control, resulting in a claw like appearance and loss of function. Activities of the patient daily living will be significantly effected. Current therapy on the affected limb in the hospital is expensive and difficult to manage due to the limited amount of resources compared to the number of patients. We introduce a pneumatic actuated wearable hand and forearm device in this thesis. It is designed according to the hand and arm kinematics. It can help the patients keep power on each finger and help maintain the coordination of different fingers to achieve daily living movements. It consists of forearm brace, rehabilitation glove and artificial muscles. The custom made artificial muscles also known as McKibben Artificial Muscles are used in antagonistic pairs to control the fingers flexion and extension. The rehabilitation device is small, lightweight, home-based, and has large force capabilities. It is also affordable to the patients due to the specially designed low-cost artificial muscles. The rehabilitation device was controlled by solenoid valves in conjunction with a Mitsubishi M32/83C 16-bit micro controller. Experiments on the pneumatic elbow brace have shown that it is capable of moving each finger from full extension to flexion, to perform actions like pinching and allows the coordinated movement of two fingers.
Date: 2003-11-05
Degree: MS
Discipline: Electrical Engineering

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