Assessing Wrist Movement With Robotic Devices
Rose, Chad G.
Kann, Claudia K.
Deshpande, Ashish D.
O'Malley, Marcia K.
Robotic devices have been proposed to meet the rising need for high intensity, long duration, and goal-oriented therapy required to regain motor function after neurological injury. Complementing this application, exoskeletons can augment traditional clinical assessments through precise, repeatable measurements of joint angles and movement quality. These measures assume that exoskeletons are making accurate joint measurements with a negligible effect on movement. For the coupled and coordinated joints of the wrist and hand, the validity of these two assumptions cannot be established by characterizing the device in isolation. To examine these assumptions, we conducted three user-in-the-loop experiments with able-bodied participants. First, we compared robotic measurements to an accepted modality to determine the validity of joint- and trajectory-level measurements. Then, we compared those movements to movements without the device to investigate the effects of device dynamic properties on wrist movement characteristics. Last, we investigated the effect of the device on coordination with a redundant, coordinated pointing task with the wrist and hand. For all experiments, smoothness characteristics were preserved in the robotic kinematic measurement and only marginally impacted by robot dynamics, validating the exoskeletons for use as assessment devices. Stemming from these results, we propose design guidelines for exoskeletal assessment devices.