Design of Upper Arm Exoskeleton
Exoskeletons are being popularly used to augment or restore human capabilities. Recently, the application of exoskeleton in aiding patients with motor impairment has seen a huge growth. As the life expectancy increases, there is a large section of population with declined functional abilities. Moreover, the older people are more likely to be affected by conditions like stroke which causes motor impairments. Limitation in activity of limbs reduces the quality of life. The upper limb motor impairment prevents the patient from carrying out the activities of daily living (ADLs) . However, it has been found that intensive movement training can help in the recovery of the neuromuscular functions of the limb. Here, the use of exoskeleton as a rehabilitation device can be very beneficial for it will compensate for the scarcity of the therapists as well as be able to perform repetitive task for longer duration. So, the objective of the project is to develop the design of an exoskeleton for the upper limb rehabilitation. Such devices are already used in clinical practice. However, a small number of them have been able to fulfill the objectives they were designed for. So the project involves a survey of the existing models to find out their advantages and disadvantages. The next step involves analysis of the natural movement and structure of the limb. With this knowledge, the basic model of the device is prepared which includes degrees of freedom(DOFs), mode of actuation and the control methods. It is desirable to have similarity between the workspace of the device and that of the natural limb. Other factors involved in designing such a device are modularity, user friendly design and cost. Our model is a 9-DOF system with 7 active and 2 passive joints. This provides the ability to perform more intensive exercises with workspace resembling that of the human limb.
Keywords or phrases: Stroke, Motor Impairment, Rehabilitation, 9- degrees of freedom