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Technical Brief

Evaluation of an Arm Support With Trunk Motion Capability

[+] Author and Article Information
A. G. Dunning

Precision and Microsystems Engineering,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Delft University of Technology,
Delft 2628 CD, The Netherlands
e-mail: a.g.dunning@tudelft.nl

M. M. H. P. Janssen

Department of Rehabilitation,
Donders Center for Neuroscience,
Radboud University Medical Center,
Nijmegen 6500 HB, The Netherlands

P. N. Kooren

Department of Physics and Medical Technology,
VU Medical Center,
Amsterdam 1081 BT, The Netherlands

J. L. Herder

Precision and Microsystems Engineering,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Delft University of Technology,
Delft 2628 CD, The Netherlands

Manuscript received March 29, 2016; final manuscript received July 6, 2016; published online September 12, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Venketesh Dubey.

J. Med. Devices 10(4), 044509 (Sep 12, 2016) (4 pages) Paper No: MED-16-1201; doi: 10.1115/1.4034298 History: Received March 29, 2016; Revised July 06, 2016

Due to progressive muscle weakness, the arm function in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) reduces. An arm support can compensate for this loss of function. Existing arm supports are wheelchair bound, which restricts the ability to perform trunk movements. To evaluate the function of a body-bound arm support, a prototype (based on the Wilmington robotic exoskeleton (WREX) arm support) that allows trunk movements was built. In order to examine the effect of this device and to compare it with an existing wheelchair-bound device, three healthy subjects performed single joint movements (SJMs) and activities of daily living (ADL) with and without the devices. The range of motion (RoM) of the arm and the surface electromyography (sEMG) signal of five different arm muscles were measured. The range of motion increased when compared to the wheelchair-bound device, and the trunk motion was perceived as important to make specific movements easier and more natural, especially the more extreme movements like reaching for a far object and reaching to the top of the head. The sEMG signal was comparable to that of the wheelchair-bound device. This means that an arm support with trunk motion capability can increase the range of motion of the user, while the amount of support to the arm is equal.

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References

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Prototype of a body-bound arm support with trunk motion capability: the existing WREX [6] (combined with a trunk parallelogram)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Results of the range of motion of the hand of a healthy user without the arm support, with the prototype with trunk motion capability (proto1) and with the WREX arm support, shown from the (a) front, (b) side, and (c) top of the user

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

sEMG measurements (normalized to the MVC), including ±1 SD from the average, of different muscles of three healthy subjects for drinking and reaching for a far object, without an arm support, with the prototype with trunk motion capability (proto1), and with the WREX arm support

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