Title: Robot assisted rehabilitation for elbow and forearm movements

Authors: Mohammad Habibur Rahman; Thierry Kittel-Ouimet; Maarouf Saad; Jean-Pierre Kenné; Philippe S. Archambault

Addresses: Department of Electrical Engineering, École de Technologie Supérieure, 1100 rue Notre-dame Ouest, Montreal, H3C-1K3, Canada. ' Department of Electrical Engineering, École de Technologie Supérieure, 1100 rue Notre-dame Ouest, Montreal, H3C-1K3, Canada. ' Department of Electrical Engineering, École de Technologie Supérieure, 1100 rue Notre-dame Ouest, Montreal, H3C-1K3, Canada. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, École de Technologie Supérieure, 1100 rue Notre-dame Ouest, Montreal, H3C-1K3, Canada. ' School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Davis House, 3654 Promenade Sir William Osler, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Y5, Canada

Abstract: The movements of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist play a vital role in the performance of essential daily activities. We therefore have developed a 2DOF exoskeleton robot (ExoRob) to rehabilitate the elbow and forearm movements of physically disabled individuals with impaired upper-limb function. The proposed ExoRob is supposed to be worn on the lateral side of forearm in order to provide naturalistic range movements of elbow (flexion/extension) and forearm (pronation/supination) motions. This paper focuses on the modelling, design (electrical and mechanical components), development, and control of the proposed ExoRob. The kinematic model of ExoRob has been developed based on modified Denavit-Hartenberg notations. Non-linear modified computed torque control technique is employed to control the proposed ExoRob, where trajectories (i.e., pre-programmed trajectories recommended by therapist/clinician) tracking corresponding to typical rehabilitation (passive) exercises has been carried out to evaluate the performances of the developed ExoRob and controller. Furthermore, experiments were carried out with the master exoskeleton arm [mExoArm, an upper-limb prototype 7DOF (lower scaled) exoskeleton arm] where subjects (robot users) or experimenter operate the mExoArm (like a joystick) to manoeuvre the proposed ExoRob to provide passive rehabilitation. Experimental results show that the controller is able to manoeuvre the ExoRob efficiently to track the desired trajectories. Such movements are widely used in rehabilitation and have been performed efficiently with the developed ExoRob and the controller.

Keywords: exoskeleton robots; ExoRob; nonlinear control; physical disability; rehabilitation; passive exercise; biomechatronics; elbow movements; forearm movements; biomedical robots; flexion; extension; pronation; supination; kinematic modelling; robot control; computed torque; trajectory tracking.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBBR.2011.043748

International Journal of Biomechatronics and Biomedical Robotics, 2011 Vol.1 No.4, pp.206 - 218

Available online: 15 Nov 2011 *

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