The Soft-SixthFinger: A Wearable EMG Controlled Robotic Extra-Finger for Grasp Compensation in Chronic Stroke Patients

Irfan Hussain, Gionata Salvietti, Giovanni Spagnoletti, Domenico Prattichizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations

Abstract

This letter presents the Soft-SixthFinger, a wearable robotic extra-finger designed to be used by chronic stroke patients to compensate for the missing hand function of their paretic limb. The extra-finger is an underactuated modular structure worn on the paretic forearm by means of an elastic band. The device and the paretic hand/arm act like the two parts of a gripper working together to hold an object. The patient can control the flexion/extension of the robotic finger through the eCap, an electromyography-based (EMG) interface embedded in a cap. The user can control the device by contracting the frontalis muscle. Such contraction can be achieved simply moving his or her eyebrows upwards. The Soft-SixthFinger has been designed as tool that can be used by chronic stroke patients to compensate for grasping in many activities of daily living (ADL). It can be wrapped around the wrist and worn as a bracelet when not used. The light weight and the complete wireless connection with the EMG interface guarantee a high portability and wearability. We tested the device with qualitative experiments involving six chronic stroke patients. Results show that the proposed system significantly improves the performances of the patients in the proposed tests and, more in general, their autonomy in ADL.

Original languageBritish English
Article number7407614
Pages (from-to)1000-1006
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Volume1
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2016

Keywords

  • Medical Robots and Systems
  • Prosthetics and Exoskeletons
  • Rehabilitation Robotics

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