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STTR Phase I: Motion Assisted Hand Exoskeleton with Virtual Reality (MAVHEXO) for Post Stroke Rehabilitation
Phone: (940) 435-8774
Phone: (940) 435-8774
Contact: Muthu B Wijesundara
Type: Nonprofit college or university
This Small Technology Transfer Phase I project will realize a sensorized soft robotic hand exoskeleton coupled with an interactive 3D virtual reality (VR) gaming environment that provides fine motor training for stroke patients' hands. There is a currently a lack of available devices that provide fine sensory and motor training of the hand. The potential benefit is to fill this niche market opportunity, especially when considering the high incidence of hand disability due to stroke and other neuromusculoskeletal injuries. This system can provide structured therapy sessions which requires minimal therapist supervision while improving patient engagement which enhances the broader participation. As a complimentary technology for current rehabilitation practice, it has a potential to lower health care and labor costs associated with neurological rehabilitation. The outpatient physical rehabilitation market is a $30 billion industry growing at a rate of 7% in the US, mainly due to the growing elderly population. The robot-assisted rehabilitation market is expected to grow dramatically, reaching $2 billion by 2020. As robot-assisted treatment becomes widely available, the customer base will grow from acute care clinics to long-term rehabilitation centers and finally to home-based care. The intellectual merit of this project results from the combination of a soft robotic system with fine motor control synced to VR games for both sensory and motor stimuli. The robotic exoskeleton provides individual joint control to practice complex grasping while the VR environment provides targeted rehabilitation games. This system addresses the fine motor control needs that have not been met by current hand rehabilitation devices, which only offer gross motions. Adaptive algorithms will adjust to the patient's level of ability to accomplish the assigned tasks in virtual game scenarios, providing accessibility for a wide range of population with different levels of severity. There are three main goals for the project. First, we will develop a VR environment simulating real-world hand motion via interaction with objects in an immersive game. Second, we will develop adaptive control algorithms for the soft robotic exoskeleton to provide active assistive motion in performing rehabilitation-oriented tasks in the VR environment. Third, a pilot study will be conducted with both healthy individuals and hand-impaired stroke patients. The Phase I project will produce a system with assistive hand motion in a targeted rehabilitation virtual game environment, which can be tested for efficacy in a larger clinical population of stroke survivors. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *