Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Loris Fichera, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Zhi Li, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Karen Troy, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Gregory S. Fischer, Advisor

Identifier

etd-081018-104916

Abstract

Wearable assistive robotics have the potential to address an unmet medical need of reducing disability in individuals with chronic hand impairments due to neurological trauma. Despite myriad prior works, few patients have seen the benefits of such devices. Following application experience with tendon-actuated soft robotic gloves and a collaborator's orthosis with novel flat-spring actuators, we identified two common assumptions regarding hand orthosis design. The first was reliance on incomplete studies of grasping forces during activities of daily living as a basis for design criteria, leading to poor optimization. The second was a neglect of increases in muscle tone following neurological trauma, rendering most devices non-applicable to a large subset of the population. To address these gaps, we measured joint torques during activities of daily living with able-bodied subjects using dexterity representative of orthosis-aided motion. Next, we measured assistive torques needed to extend the fingers of individuals with increased flexor tone following TBI. Finally, we applied this knowledge to design a cable actuated orthosis for assisting finger extension, providing a basis for future work focused on an under-represented subgroup of patients.

Publisher

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name

PhD

Department

Robotics Engineering

Project Type

Dissertation

Date Accepted

2018-7

Accessibility

Unrestricted

Subjects

traumatic brain injury stroke grasping hand biomechanics assistive devices wearable robtoics medical robotics orthoses exoskeletons

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