Non-contact versus contact-based sensing methodologies for in-home upper arm robotic rehabilitation
Howard, Ayanna M.
Brooks, Douglas Antwonne
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In recent years, robot-assisted rehabilitation has gained momentum as a viable means for improving outcomes for therapeutic interventions. Such therapy experiences allow controlled and repeatable trials and quantitative evaluation of mobility metrics. Typically though these robotic devices have been focused on rehabilitation within a clinical setting. In these traditional robot-assisted rehabilitation studies, participants are required to perform goal-directed movements with the robot during a therapy session. This requires physical contact between the participant and the robot to enable precise control of the task, as well as a means to collect relevant performance data. On the other hand, non-contact means of robot interaction can provide a safe methodology for extracting the control data needed for in-home rehabilitation. As such, in this paper we discuss a contact and non-contact based method for upper-arm rehabilitation exercises that enables quantification of upper-arm movements. We evaluate our methodology on upper-arm abduction/adduction movements and discuss the advantages and limitations of each approach as applied to an in-home rehabilitation scenario.