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Smart glove: an assistive device to enhance recovery of hand function during motor rehabilitation

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Stroke accounts for high rates of mortality and disability in the United States. It levies great economic burden on the affected subjects, their family and the society at large. Motor impairments after stroke mainly manifest themselves as hemiplegia or hemiparesis

Stroke accounts for high rates of mortality and disability in the United States. It levies great economic burden on the affected subjects, their family and the society at large. Motor impairments after stroke mainly manifest themselves as hemiplegia or hemiparesis in the upper and lower limbs. Motor recovery is highly variable but can be enhanced through motor rehabilitation with sufficient movement repetition and intensity. Cost effective assistive devices that can augment therapy by increasing movement repetition both at home and in the clinic may facilitate recovery. This thesis aims to develop a Smart Glove that can enhance motor recovery by providing feedback to both the therapist and the patient on the number of hand movements (wrist and finger extensions) performed during therapy. The design implements resistive flex sensors for detecting the extensions and processes the information using the Lightblue bean microcontroller mounted on the wrist. Communication between the processing unit and display module is wireless and executes Bluetooth 4.0 communication protocol. The capacity for the glove to measure and record hand movements was tested on three stroke and one traumatic brain injured patient while performing a box and blocks test. During testing many design flaws were noted and several were adapted during testing to improve the function of the glove. Results of the testing showed that the glove could detect wrist and finger extensions but that the sensitivity had to be calibrated for each patient. It also allowed both the therapist and patient to know whether the patient was actually performing the task in the manner requested by the therapist. Further work will reveal whether this feedback can enhance recovery of hand function in neurologically impaired patients.

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Date Created
2015