Apr 27, 2020

Upper extremity exomuscle for shoulder abduction support

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Cole SimpsonA. Okamura


Assistive devices may aid motor recovery after a stroke, but access to such devices is limited. Exosuits may be a more accessible alternative to current devices and have been used to successfully assist movement after a variety of motor impairments, but we know little about how they might assist post-stroke upper extremity movement. Here, we designed an exosuit actuator to support shoulder abduction, which we call an ''exomuscle'' and is based on a form of growing robot known as a pneumatic-reel actuator. We also assembled a ceiling-mounted support to serve as a positive control. We verified that both supports reduce the activity of shoulder abductor muscles and do not impede range of motion in healthy participants (n=4). Then, we measured reachable workspace area in stroke survivors (n=6) both with and without support. Our exomuscle increased workspace area in four participants (180{+/-}90 cm2) while the ceiling support increased workspace area in five participants (792{+/-}540 cm2). Design decisions that make the exomuscle wear- able, such as leaving the forearm free, likely contribute to the performance differences between the two supports. Heterogeneity amongst stroke survivors' abilities likely contribute to a high variabi...Continue Reading

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