The main goal of project 7 “Advanced upper extremity orthoses for functional support of patients with muscle weakness” is to enhance arm function to make the execution of the most essential actives of daily living possible again. For healthy people these activities might seem simple things like drinking a glass of water or bringing food to your mouth. But for patients with severe muscle weakness (typically boys with Duchenne dystrophy) these activities are very exhausting or even impossible to perform in already an early stage of life (10-20 y/o).
The goal is to design and evaluate two generations of an advanced arm orthosis. The results from the previous projects for the patients with muscle weakness will be the starting point for the designs, including a passive arm orthoses of Yuman Bionics and the active A-gear of Flextension. This project will actuate the orthosis with the newly developed small actuators (PR4) to support a wider range of functions. Depending on the progress of technical innovations within the program consortium, the second demonstrator will integrate the products of the other projects of the program such as: an EMG embedded sensor (PR5); a wrist soft orthosis (PR2/PR3); and/or a trunk shell orthosis (PR3).
This project is jointly carried out at TUDelft, Radboudumc and UTwente. The functional requirements for patients with muscle weakness have been extensively explored at Radboudumc. The orthotic prototypes are built at DEMO (TUDelft). The control of the exoskeleton will be developed with involvement of the PhD student (TUDelft) in close collaboration with the Biomechanical Engineering Department (UTwente). Preliminary evaluations will be performed at the biomechatronics lab at TUDelft and/or UTwente, whereas patient evaluation will be done at Radboudumc.
Courtesy by J. L. Prat (2016). Photos of the passive (left) and active (right) Flextension A-Gear project.