Title: Developing a sensory-enhanced robot-aided motor training programme

Authors: Wen Liu; Mukul Mukherjee; Soek Hun Kim; Hongzeng Liu; Pradeep Natarajan; Arvin Agah

Addresses: Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Kansas Medical Centre, MS 2002, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160-7601, USA. ' Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182-0216, USA. ' School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Medicine, University of South Florida, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 77, Tampa, FL 33612, USA. ' School of Dentistry, The University of Missouri-Kansas City, 650 E. 25th St., Kansas City, MO 642108, USA. ' IBM Informix R&D, SQL Team, 11200 Lakeview Avenue, Lenexa, KS 66219, USA. ' Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA

Abstract: The present study aimed at developing a novel sensory enhancement handle used in robot-aided motor training. The handle provided vibro-tactile stimulation through pins connected to small servomotors inside the handle. When the pressure on the handle indicated an active movement of the subject, the corresponding servomotor(s) was activated to generate vibration on the hand of the subject to enhance the cutaneous sensation during motor training. In a feasibility study, nine chronic stroke survivors were randomly assigned to either a sensory-enhanced robot-aided motor training group (SERMT) or robot-aided motor training (RMT) only group. After 6-week motor training, the total motor status (MS) scores showed significant improvement in both groups. However, when dividing MS scores into two sub-scores for the shoulder/elbow and wrist/hand, significant increases in both sub-scores were shown only in the SERMT group (p < 0.05). Enhanced sensation might increase the gain of robot-aided motor training in stroke survivors.

Keywords: robots; motor training; sensory enhancement; cutaneous sensation; vibro-tactile stimulation; strokes; servomotors; vibration; chronic stroke patients; rehabilitation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMA.2011.045256

International Journal of Mechatronics and Automation, 2011 Vol.1 No.3/4, pp.236 - 243

Available online: 01 Feb 2012 *

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