Robotic hand to provide ‘revolution’ in stroke therapy

Robotic hand to provide ‘revolution’ in stroke therapy
Researchers from the Department of Health Technology and Informatics in Hong Kong have invented a hand robotic training device that works to recover the hand functions of stroke patients.

The Exoskeleton is made up of an embedded controller and a robotic hand module, and is designed to provide patients with assistive power to perform hand movements so that they can gradually boost relearning in the brain.

"Once the compact, wearable robotic hand is attached to the patient's fingers and hand, it begins to detect his or her intentions to move through signals from the hemiplegic side, measured by surface electromyography," explained Associate Professor, Dr Raymond Tong Kai-yu. "A nervous response then sets the robotic hand in motion to move the patient's stiff hand at his or her own will."

Dr Kai-yu maintained that the device affords substantial flexibility, as each finger assembly can be adjusted to fit different finger lengths. "The assistive power from the robotic hand is designed to help overcome muscle and joint stiffness, allowing the patient to open and close a paralysed hand or pick up items according to his or her own intention," he said. "Through repetitive exercises, the hand motions send feedback to the patient's brain, helping it to rewire itself in response to new experiences."

Laura Hopperton

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