TitleImprovement of Hand Functions of SCI Patients with EMG-driven Hand Exoskeleton: a Feasibility Study
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsYun, Y, Na, Y, Esmatloo, P, Dancausse, S, Serrato, A, Merring, CA, Agarwal, P, Deshpande, AD
JournalWearable Technologies

We have developed a one-of-a-kind hand exoskeleton, called Maestro, which can power finger movements of those surviving severe disabilities to complete daily tasks using compliant joints. In this paper, we present results from a practical EMG control strategy conducted with spinal cord injury (SCI) patients (C5, C6 and C7) in which the subjects completed daily tasks controlling Maestro with electromyography (EMG) signals from their forearm muscles. With its compliant actuation and its degrees of freedom (DOF) that match the natural finger movements, Maestro is capable of helping the subjects grasp and manipulate a variety of daily objects (more than 15 from a standardized set). To generate control commands for Maestro, an artificial neural network algorithm was implemented along with a probabilistic control approach to classify and deliver four hand poses robustly with three EMG signals measured from the forearm and palm. Increase in the scores of a standardized test, called the Sollerman hand function test (SHFT), and enhancement in different aspects of grasping such as strength shows feasibility that Maestro can be capable of improving the hand function of SCI subjects.

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