RBE MS Thesis Presentation
Mechanical Redesign and Implementation of an Intuitive User Input Method for a Hand Exoskeleton Informed by User Studies
Abstract: Individuals with Upper Motor Neuron Syndrome (UMNS), such as stroke and traumatic brain injury survivors, may exhibit hypertonia and spasticity. These conditions cause them to have a difficult time using existing hand exoskeletons which are primarily designed for flexion assistance. This thesis work includes testing a hand exoskeleton, which was designed for extension assistance, with an impaired individual and mechanically revising the device to better assist impaired individuals in a real-world setting. Multiple gripping patterns have been accomplished by re-allocating the motors and adding an actuated thumb. Traditional Electromyography (EMG) methods for user input have been evaluated for viability with the specified user group by completing a study. The preliminary results show that a significant percentage of the impaired subjects tested, would struggle to use a device with traditional EMG control methods. Voice control and button press control have been implemented as well as an onset analysis EMG control. These three control methods were integrated into the revised hand exoskeleton. The new hand exoskeleton system, and the three user input methods, were evaluated for effectiveness as the patient completed a test for manual dexterity.
Thesis Advisor: Prof. Gregory Fischer
Thesis Committee: Prof. Ted Clancy, Prof. Jane Li