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Technical Brief

Design of a Soft Robotic Glove for Hand Rehabilitation of Stroke Patients With Clenched Fist Deformity Using Inflatable Plastic Actuators

[+] Author and Article Information
Hong Kai Yap

NUS Graduate School for Integrative
Sciences and Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
CELS, #05-01, 28 Medical Drive,
Singapore 117456, Singapore
e-mail: hongkai@u.nus.edu

Jeong Hoon Lim

Department of Medicine,
National University Hospital,
Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine,
National University of Singapore,
1E Kent Ridge Road,
NUHS Tower Block Level 10,
Singapore 119228, Singapore
e-mail: mdcljh@nus.edu.sg

James Cho Hong Goh

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
4 Engineering Drive 3,
Block E4, #04-08,
Singapore 117583, Singapore
e-mail: biehead@nus.edu.sg

Chen-Hua Yeow

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology,
Advanced Robotics Centre,
National University of Singapore,
4 Engineering Drive 3,
Block E4, #04-08,
Singapore 117583, Singapore
e-mail: bieych@nus.edu.sg

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received September 5, 2015; final manuscript received February 22, 2016; published online August 11, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Rita M. Patterson.

J. Med. Devices 10(4), 044504 (Aug 11, 2016) (6 pages) Paper No: MED-15-1253; doi: 10.1115/1.4033035 History: Received September 05, 2015; Revised February 22, 2016

In this paper, we present a soft robotic glove designed to augment hand rehabilitation for stroke patients with clenched fist deformity. The robotic glove provides active finger extension for hand rehabilitative training, through its embedded inflatable actuators that are fabricated by heat bonding of flexible plastic sheets. Upon pressurization, the actuators inflate, stiffen, and extend the fingers. The actuators were embedded in the finger pockets of a glove. In this work, the device was evaluated in terms of its extension torque generated on the metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint of a dummy finger model and a healthy subject. A stroke patient with finger spasticity was recruited to demonstrate the feasibility of the device to assist in finger extension. Preliminary results showed that the device was able to generate significant extension torques to provide assistance in finger extension for both healthy and stroke participants.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

(a) A soft robotic glove prototype. (b) Interior schematic of the soft robotic glove fitted with soft plastic actuators.

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Fig. 2

(a) Components and fabrication process of soft plastic actuator, (b) a soft plastic actuator, and (c) illustration of a soft plastic actuator before and after pressurization

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Fig. 3

Schematic diagram of the control scheme for the soft robotic glove

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Fig. 4

(a) Model hand with extension springs attached and (b) schematic of the mathematical model at the MCP joint

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Fig. 5

Schematic of the experimental configuration

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Fig. 6

A patient with clenched fist due to finger flexor spastic hypertonia following stroke

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Fig. 7

(a) The relationship between the extension torque, Text and the flexion angle, α. (b) Photographs showing the extended finger of the model hand with the assistance of the soft actuator.

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Fig. 8

Change in finger flexion angles at DIP, PIP, and MCP joints when the actuators were pressurized at 100 kPa

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Fig. 9

Extension torque provided by the soft robotic glove at the MCP joint during imposed flexion rotation of MCP joint

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Fig. 10

Photographs showing the extended index finger of the patients with the assistance of the soft robotic glove

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