A preliminary study to design and evaluate pneumatically controlled soft robotic actuators for a repetitive hand rehabilitation task

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Authors
Rieger, Claire
Desai, Jaydip M.
Issue Date
2022-09-20
Type
Article
Language
en_US
Keywords
Soft actuators , Robotics , Pneumatic , Range of motion , Unity , Rehabilitation , Microcontroller
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Abstract

A stroke is an infarction in the cortical region of the brain that often leads to isolated hand paresis. This common side effect renders individuals compromised in their ability to actively flex or extend the fingers of the affected hand. While there are currently published soft robotic glove designs, this article proposed a unique design that allows users to self-actuate their therapy due to the ability to re-extend the hand using a layer of resistive flexible steel. The results showed a consistently achieved average peak of 75° or greater for each finger while the subjects’ hands were at rest during multiple trials of pneumatic assisted flexion. During passive assisted testing, human subject testing on 10 participants showed that these participants were able to accomplish 80.75% of their normal active finger flexion range with the steel-layer-lined pneumatic glove and 87.07% with the unlined pneumatic glove on average when neglecting outliers. An addition of the steel layer lowered the blocked tip force by an average of 18.13% for all five fingers. These data show strong evidence that this glove would be appropriate to advance to human subject testing on those who do have post stroke hand impairments.

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This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Citation
Rieger, C.; Desai, J. A Preliminary Study to Design and Evaluate Pneumatically Controlled Soft Robotic Actuators for a Repetitive Hand Rehabilitation Task. Biomimetics 2022, 7, 139. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics7040139
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MDPI
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ISSN
2313-7673
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