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Research Papers

Design and Testing of a Soft Rehabilitation Glove Integrating Finger and Wrist Function

[+] Author and Article Information
Jiangbei Wang

Research Institute of Robotics,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: J.B.Wang@sjtu.edu.cn

Zhaoyu Liu

Research Institute of Robotics,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: lzy0422@sjtu.edu.cn

Yanqiong Fei

Professor
Research Institute of Robotics,
School of Mechanical Engineering,
Shanghai Jiao Tong University,
Shanghai 200240, China
e-mail: fyq_sjtu@163.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received June 5, 2018; final manuscript received October 11, 2018; published online December 10, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Shaoping Bai.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 11(1), 011015 (Dec 10, 2018) (14 pages) Paper No: JMR-18-1167; doi: 10.1115/1.4041789 History: Received June 05, 2018; Revised October 11, 2018

This work presents a lightweight soft rehabilitation glove that integrates finger and wrist function by developing and applying the double-DOF soft pneumatic bending actuators (DPBAs). The proposed soft glove can achieve separate as well as coordinated motion exercises of fingers and the wrist, which benefits stroke patients who have complicated hand impairment. It consists of a commercial glove extended by a customized wrist bracer, on which are installed three dorsal DPBAs through fingers (index/middle/ring) and the wrist, two dorsal single-DOF pneumatic bending actuators (SPBAs) through thumb/pinky, and three palmar SPBAs through wrist. The proposed DPBA has two independent bendable segments to actuate flexion of finger and wrist, respectively, whose multigait bending conforms with multipattern flexion of the biological hand. The SPBAs are used for actuating wrist extension or finger flexion. The proposed wrist bracer is designed as an extension of the glove to install the soft actuators and transfer their motion and force to the wearer's wrist efficiently as well as minimize unactuated restriction on the hand. To verify its feasibility, we evaluate the range of motion (ROM), strength and speed of five subjects' hands assisted by the glove in six different passive motions. Results show that the proposed glove can provide sufficient assistance for stroke patients in hand rehabilitation exercise. Furthermore, the soft glove has potential in extending the hand functional training from simple exercises such as closing/opening and gripping to complex ones such as weightlifting, writing, and screwing/unscrewing.

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Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Topics: Actuators , Design , Testing
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Figures

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Fig. 1

Hand rehabilitation exercise assisted by the physical therapist. The left two hands are of the physical therapist while the right hand is of the patient.

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Fig. 2

Hand rehabilitation exercises assisted by the soft glove: (a) straight state (b) finger flexion, (c) pinch grip, (d) full grip (grasp), (e) wrist extension, (f) wrist flexion, (g) weightlifting with wrist flexion, and (h) weightlifting with wrist extension

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Fig. 3

Passive motion of wrist and fingers driven by the soft actuators: (a) wrist flexion driven by the DPBA's proximal bending, (b) finger (index/middle/ring) flexion driven by the DPBA's distal bending, (c) coordinated flexion of wrist and fingers driven by the DPBA's overall bending, (d) wrist extension driven by the SPBA's bending, (e) thumb flexion driven by the SPBA's bending, and (f) little finger flexion driven by the SPBA's bending

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Fig. 4

Structure of the soft actuators: (a) SPBA in unpressurized state, (b) SPBA in bending state, (c) DPBA in unpressurized state, (d) DPBA in proximal bending state, (e) DPBA in distal bending state, and (f) DPBA in overall bending state

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Fig. 5

Structure of the soft glove: (a) dorsal view and (b) palmar view

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Fig. 6

Structure and principle of the wrist bracer: (a) structure of the bracer in cross section view, (b) bracer in natural state, (c) bracer during wrist flexion, and (d) bracer during wrist extension

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Fig. 7

Geometric parameters of the soft actuators: (a) length of dorsal actuators, (b) length of palmar actuators, and (c) cross section dimensions of the soft actuators

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Fig. 8

(a) Multigait bending of the DPBA and (b) multipattern flexion of physical hand

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Fig. 9

Testing tip force of the proposed DPBA: (a) experiment setup, (b) measured tip force with respect to pressure (i.e., PF curves) in multigait bending

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Fig. 10

Range of motion evaluation in passive motions assisted by the soft glove (P = 200 kPa): (a) finger flexion, (b) wrist extension, (c) wrist flexion, (d) finger flexion coordinated with wrist flexion, (e) finger flexion coordinated with wrist extension, and (f) thumb flexion. In each subfigure, the translucent image shows the initial (unactuated) state of hand and glove, which is overlaid by the opaque image that shows the final (fully actuated) state. Bending angles θ of fingers and the wrist are measured between the orientation lines of proximal and distal parts (marked as the different lines for forearm, MC and DP, respectively). The subscript letter of θ means which finger or wrist is involved, i.e., M for middle finger, T for thumb finger, and W for wrist. The superscript number of θ means which motion is involved, i.e., 0 for initial state, 1 for flexion and −1 for extension. For coordinated motion of fingers and the wrist, the subscript and superscript are combination of those described above.

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Fig. 11

Strength evaluation in passive motions assisted by the soft glove (P = 200 kPa): (a) weightlifting strength of wrist flexion coordinated with finger flexion, (b) weightlifting strength of wrist extension coordinated with finger flexion, (c) grasp strength of finger flexion, and (d) pinch strength of thumb flexion

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Fig. 12

Speed evaluation in passive motions assisted by the rehabilitation soft glove (P = 200 kPa): (a) customized data glove for tracking hand motion and (b) step response of hand motion, in which the upper curve is output of the flex sensor while the lower is input of the pneumatic valve

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Fig. 13

Potential of the soft glove in functional training (P = 200 kPa). Weightlifting exercise in which the dumbbell is grasped with finger flexion (a) and lifted with wrist extension (b). Writing exercise in which the pen is grasped with finger flexion and rotated with wrist flexion (c) and extension (d). Unscrewing exercise in which the bottle cap is grasped with finger flexion (e) and rotated with wrist flexion (f), the same case in screwing with wrist extension.

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