Conference Paper

Active tracking movements of flexion and extension on the elbow joint for an initial prototype of EMG-driven assistant exoskeleton

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The research project consist of development of an upper limb exoskeleton using rapid prototyping for rehabilitation with feedback from the EMG and IMU sensor. The project is about designing a 3D modelling structure for the system implementation for the rehabilitation mechanism. A control unit circuitry has to be designed in order the implemented system able to be controller and monitored upon the desire motional flow. Besides, the actuator of the rehabilitation system has to imply the motional flow of the good hand during the rehabilitation process takes place. In order to monitor the working mechanism of the entire mechanism, GUI in the state of offline and online has been designed and developed in line with the system implementation. Upon the completion of the system implementation testing of component has been conducted. The accuracy of the IMU sensor can be designated up to 97% and an average of 85% to the theoretical value. Besides, the system's performance also been evaluated at the level best of the function ability which is to be 71%. The GUI interfacing to the online monitoring system has an accuracy of 99.1% of data transfer with 3 second delay upon the connectivity.
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In the development of robot-assisted rehabilitation systems for upper limb rehabilitation therapy, human electromyogram (EMG) is widely used due to its ability to detect the user intended motion. EMG is one kind of biological signal that can be recorded to evaluate the performance of skeletal muscles by means of a sensor electrode. Based on recorded EMG signals, user intended motion could be extracted via estimation of joint torque, force or angle. Therefore, this estimation becomes one of the most important factors to achieve accurate user intended motion. In this paper, an upper limb joint angle estimation methodology is proposed. A back propagation neural network (BPNN) is developed to estimate the shoulder and elbow joint angles from the recorded EMG signals. A Virtual Human Model (VHM) is also developed and integrated with BPNN to perform the simulation of the estimated angle. The relationships between sEMG signals and upper limb movements are observed in this paper. The effectiveness of our developments is evaluated with four healthy subjects and a VHM simulation. The results show that the methodology can be used in the estimation of joint angles based on EMG.
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Although we move our arms rhythmically during walking, running, and swimming, we know little about the neural control of such movements. Our working hypothesis is that neural mechanisms controlling rhythmic movements are similar in the human lumbar and cervical spinal cord. Thus reflex modulation during rhythmic arm movement should be similar to that seen during leg movement. Our main experimental hypotheses were that the amplitude of H-reflexes in the forearm muscles would be modulated during arm movement (i.e., phase-dependent) and would be inhibited during cycling compared with static contraction (i.e., task-dependent). Furthermore, to determine the locus of any modulation, we tested the effect that active and passive movement of the ipsilateral (relative to stimulated arm) and contralateral arm had on H-reflex amplitude. Subjects performed rhythmic arm cycling on a custom-made hydraulic ergometer in which the two arms could be constrained to move together (180 degrees out of phase) or could rotate independently. Position of the stimulated limb in the movement cycle is described with respect to the clock face. H-reflexes were evoked at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions during static contraction as well as during rhythmic arm movements. Reflex amplitudes were compared between tasks at equal M wave amplitudes and similar levels of electromyographic (EMG) activity in the target muscle. Surface EMG recordings were obtained bilaterally from flexor carpi radialis as well as from other muscles controlling the wrist, elbow, and shoulder. Compared with reflexes evoked during static contractions, movement of the stimulated limb attenuated H-reflexes by 50.8% (P < 0.005), 65.3% (P < 0.001), and 52.6% (P < 0.001) for bilateral, active ipsilateral, and passive ipsilateral movements, respectively. In contrast, movement of the contralateral limb did not significantly alter H-reflex amplitude. H-reflexes were also modulated by limb position (P < 0.005). Thus task- and phase-dependent modulation were observed in the arm as previously demonstrated in the leg. The data support the hypothesis that neural mechanisms regulating reflex pathways in the moving limb are similar in the human upper and lower limbs. However, the inhibition of H-reflex amplitude induced by contralateral leg movement is absent in the arms. This may reflect the greater extent to which the arms can be used independently.
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Stroke forms one of the leading causes of disability in most industrialized countries. Robot mediated task-orientated physiotherapy is the recent answer to the shortage of staff and the cost associated with the treatment of strokes. The role of biofeedback as a rehabilitation tool has also being acknowledged recently. In this paper we present Rehab Lab, a multi-modal environment for implementing task-orientated therapy. The work focuses on how an arm exoskeleton operating in 3D space can be used in conjunction with rehabilitation software for training patients in relearning daily motor tasks as well as providing them with quality feedback. The Salford rehabilitation exoskeleton (SRE) is used as an assistive device which helps individuals retrain in performing motor tasks by assisting them to complete therapy regimes.
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Many kinds of power-assist robots have been developed in order to assist self-rehabilitation and/or daily life motions of physically weak persons. Several kinds of control methods have been proposed to control the power-assist robots according to user's motion intention. In this paper, an electromyogram (EMG)-based impedance control method for an upper-limb power-assist exoskeleton robot is proposed to control the robot in accordance with the user's motion intention. The proposed method is simple, easy to design, humanlike, and adaptable to any user. A neurofuzzy matrix modifier is applied to make the controller adaptable to any users. Not only the characteristics of EMG signals but also the characteristics of human body are taken into account in the proposed method. The effectiveness of the proposed method was evaluated by the experiments.
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With the evolution of robotic systems to facilitate overground walking rehabilitation, it is important to understand the effect of robotic-aided body-weight supported loading on lower limb muscle activity, if we are to optimize neuromotor recovery. To achieve this objective, we have collected and studied electromyography (EMG) data from key muscles in the lower extremity from healthy subjects walking over a wide range of body-weight off-loading levels as provided by a bespoke gait robot. By examining the impact of body-weight off-loading, it was found that muscle activation patterns were sensitive to the level of off-loading. In addition, a large off-loading might introduce disturbance of muscle activation pattern, led to a wider range of motion in terms of dorsiflexion/plantarflexion. Therefore, any future overground training machine should be enhanced to exclude unnecessary effect of body off-loading in securing the sustaining upright posture and providing assist-as-needed BWS over gait rehabilitation.
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For decades, robotic devices have been suggested to enhance motor recovery by replicating clinical manual-assisted training. This paper presents an overground gait rehabilitation robot, which consists of a pair of robotic orthoses, the connected pelvic arm in parallel and a mounted mobile platform. The overground walking incorporates pelvic control together with active joints on the lower limb. As a preliminary evaluation, system trials have been conducted on healthy subjects and a spinal cord injury (SCI) subject, respectively. Electromyography signals were recorded from muscles of the lower limb for each subject. Three experiments were carried out: (i) health volunteers walking at self-preferred walking speed, (ii) a SCI subject walking with the help of three helpers and (iii) the same SCI subject walking with the assistance provided by the gait device. In the experiment, the muscle activation of overground walking was compared between the manual-assisted and robotic-assisted methods. The initial results show that the performance of the device can provide impact-less overground walking and it is comparable to the performance obtained by manual assistance in gait rehabilitation training.
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Movement-related gating of cerebral somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) occurs during active and passive movements of both the upper and the lower limbs. The general hypothesis was tested that the brain participates in setting the gain of the ascending path from somatosensory receptors of the human leg to the somatosensory cortex. In experiment 1, SEPs from Cz' and soleus H-reflexes were evoked by electrical stimulation of the tibial nerve in the popliteal fossa during passive movement about the right ankle. Early SEPs and H-reflexes sampled during simple passive movement were significantly attenuated when compared with stationary controls (P<0.05). The additional requirement of tracking the passive ankle movement with the other foot led to a significant relative facilitation of mean SEP, but not H-reflex amplitude, compared with means from passive movement alone (P<0.05). In experiment 2, SEPs were evoked in the active (tracking) leg during a forewarned reaction-time task. Subjects were required to move in a preferred direction or to track the passive movement of their right foot with their left. Significant attenuation of early SEP components occurred 100 ms prior to EMG onset (P<0.05), with no apparent effect due to tracking. In the 3rd experiment, SEPs and H-reflexes were evoked in the passively moved leg (the target for active movement of the left leg) during the same forewarned reaction-time task. During the warning period, SEPs were significantly attenuated compared with stationary controls for non-tracking movements, but not for movements involving tracking (P<0.05). It is concluded that centrifugal factors are important in modulating SEP gain required by the kinaesthetic demands of the task.
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Debate persists about the effectiveness of poststroke behavioral interventions for progress toward motor recovery. The current meta-analysis assessed the effect of electromyogram (EMG)-triggered neuromuscular stimulation on arm and hand functions. Computer searches of PubMed and Cochran databases, as well as hand searches of reference lists identified seven EMG-triggered neuromuscular stimulation studies. Outcome measures focused on arm and hand motor capability functions. In addition, the quality of each study was rated on three guidelines: randomization, double blind, and dropouts. After adjusting data for consistency in the arm/hand outcome measures and to avoid bias, five active stimulation studies were included in the analysis. Rehabilitation treatment in each study focused on wrist extension. The total number of individuals in the treatment groups was 47 whereas the control groups had 39 subjects. The meta-analysis revealed a significant overall mean effect size (delta=0.82, S.D.=0.59). A homogeneity test indicated that the pooled standardized effect sizes estimated the same treatment effect. A fail-safe test for null effect findings revealed that 15 studies were required to reduce the large effect (0.82) to a small effect (0.20). These improved wrist extension motor capabilities findings support EMG-triggered neuromuscular stimulation as an effective poststroke protocol.
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Robot-assisted exercise shows promise as a means of providing exercise therapy for weakness that results from stroke or other neurological conditions. Exoskeletal or "wearable" robots can, in principle, provide therapeutic exercise and/or function as powered orthoses to help compensate for chronic weakness. We describe a novel electromyography (EMG)-controlled exoskeletal robotic brace for the elbow (the active joint brace) and the results of a pilot study conducted using this brace for exercise training in individuals with chronic hemiparesis after stroke. Eight stroke survivors with severe chronic hemiparesis were enrolled in this pilot study. One subject withdrew from the study because of scheduling conflicts. A second subject was unable to participate in the training protocol because of insufficient surface EMG activity to control the active joint brace. The six remaining subjects each underwent 18 hrs of exercise training using the device for a period of 6 wks. Outcome measures included the upper-extremity component of the Fugl-Meyer scale and the modified Ashworth scale of muscle hypertonicity. Analysis revealed that the mean upper-extremity component of the Fugl-Meyer scale increased from 15.5 (SD 3.88) to 19 (SD 3.95) (P = 0.04) at the conclusion of training for the six subjects who completed training. Combined (summated) modified Ashworth scale for the elbow flexors and extensors improved from 4.67 (+/-1.2 SD) to 2.33 (+/-0.653 SD) (P = 0.009) and improved for the entire upper limb as well. All subjects tolerated the device, and no complications occurred. EMG-controlled powered elbow orthoses can be successfully controlled by severely impaired hemiparetic stroke survivors. This technique shows promise as a new modality for assisted exercise training after stroke.
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Previous studies have shown that deficits in agonist-antagonist muscle activation in the single-joint elbow system in patients with spastic hemiparesis are directly related to limitations in the range of regulation of the thresholds of muscle activation. We extended these findings to the double-joint, shoulder-elbow system in these patients. Ten non-disabled individuals and 11 stroke survivors with spasticity in upper limb muscles participated. Stroke survivors had sustained a single unilateral stroke 6-36 months previously, had full pain-free passive range of motion of the affected shoulder and elbow and had some voluntary control of the arm. EMG activity from four elbow and two shoulder muscles was recorded during quasi-static (<5 degrees /s) stretching of elbow flexors/extensors and during slow voluntary elbow flexion/extension movement through full range. Stretches and active movements were initiated from full elbow flexion or extension with the shoulder in three different initial positions (60 degrees , 90 degrees , 145 degrees horizontal abduction). SRTs were defined as the elbow angle at which EMG signals began to exceed 2SD of background noise. SRT angles obtained by passive muscle stretch were compared with the angles at which the respective muscles became activated during voluntary elbow movements. SRTs in elbow flexors were correlated with clinical spasticity scores. SRTs of elbow flexors and extensors were within the biomechanical range of the joint and varied with changes in the shoulder angle in all subjects with hemiparesis but could not be reached in this range in all healthy subjects when muscles were initially relaxed. In patients, limitations in the regulation of SRTs resulted in a subdivision of all-possible shoulder-elbow arm configurations into two areas, one in which spasticity was present ("spatial spasticity zone") and another in which it was absent. Spatial spasticity zones were different for different muscles in different patients but, taken together, for all elbow muscles, the zones occupied a large part of elbow-shoulder joint space in each patient. The shape of the boundary between the spasticity and no-spasticity zones depended on the state of reflex inter-joint interaction. SRTs in single- and double-joint flexor muscles correlated with the positions at which muscles were activated during voluntary movements, for all shoulder angles, and this effect was greater in elbow flexor muscles (brachioradialis, biceps brachii). Flexor SRTs correlated with clinical spasticity in elbow flexors only when elbow muscles were at mid-length (90 degrees ). These findings support the notion that motor impairments after CNS damage are related to deficits in the specification and regulation of SRTs, resulting in the occurrence of spasticity zones in the space of elbow-shoulder configurations. It is suggested that the presence of spatial spasticity zones might be a major cause of motor impairments in general and deficits in inter-joint coordination in particular in patients with spasticity.
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The exoskeleton is an external structural mechanism with joints and links corresponding to those of the human body. Worn by the human, the exoskeleton transmits torques from proximally located actuators through rigid exoskeletal links to the human joints. This paper presents the development of an anthropometric seven degree-of-freedom powered exoskeleton for the upper limb. The design was based on a database defining the kinematics and dynamics of the upper limb during daily living activities, as well as joint physiological and upper limb anatomical considerations, workspace analyses, and joint ranges of motion. Proximal placement of motors and distal placement of pulley reductions were incorporated into the design of a cable-driven wearable robotic arm. This design led to low inertias, high-stiffness links, and back-drivable transmissions with zero backlash. Potential applications of the exoskeleton as a wearable robot include use as: (1) a therapeutic and diagnostics device for physiotherapy, (2) an assistive (orthotic) device for human power amplifications, (3) a haptic device in virtual reality simulation, and (4) a master device for teleoperation