Encouraging Specific Intervention Motions via a Robotic System for Rehabilitation of Hand Function: A Healthy Pilot Study
English, Brittney A.
Howard, Ayanna M.
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A knowledge gap exists for how to improve hand rehabilitation after stroke using robotic rehabilitation methods, and non-robotic hand rehabilitation methods show only small patient improvements. A proposed solution for this knowledge gap is to integrate the strengths of three of the most favorable rehabilitation strategies for post-stroke rehabilitation of hand function, which are constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT), high-intensity therapy, and repetitive task training, with a robotic rehabilitation gaming system. To create a system that is composed of collaborative therapy efforts, we must first understand how to encourage rehabilitation intervention motions. An experiment was conducted in which healthy participants were asked to complete six levels of a rehabilitation game, each level designed to encourage a specific therapeutic intervention, and a control, where participants were asked to complete undefined exercise motions. The results showed that participants’ motions were significantly different than the control while playing each of the levels. Upon comparing the actual paths of participants to the paths encouraged by the levels, it was discovered that the participants followed the intended path while encouragement was being provided for them to do so. When the encouraged motions required quick, hard motions, the participants would follow an aliased version of the intended path. This study suggests that robotic rehabilitation systems can not only change how a participant moves, but also encourage specific motions designed to mimic therapeutic interventions.