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Article Released Fri-9th-June-2017 13:00 GMT
Contact: JooHyeon Heo Institution: Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST)
 UNIST Engineers Robotic Device Helping Stroke Survivors Recover

A research team, led by South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has introduced a new robotic tool for assessments of muscle overactivity and movement dysfunction in stroke survivors. Their findings appeared in the the prestigious journal, IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering.

Robotic devices as therapeutic and diagnostic tools for stroke survivors.
Professor Sang Hoon Kang of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering at UNIST.
Copyright : UNIST
A recent study, affiliated with UNIST has introduced a new robotic tool for assessments of muscle overactivity and movement dysfunction in stroke survivors. Their robotic-assisted rehabilitation therapy, combined with standard rehabilitation, is expected to improve the mobility of patients surviving a stroke.

This breakthrough research has been led by Professor Sang Hoon Kang of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering at UNIST in collaboration with Professor Pyung-Hun Chang of DGIST and Dr. Kyungbin Park of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.

In their study, published in the May issue of the prestigious journal, IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, Professor Kang and his team developed a rehabilitation robotic system that quantitatively measures the 3 degree-of-freedom (DOF) impedance of human forearm and wrist in minutes.

Using their impedance estimation device, entitled the distal internal model based impedance control (dIMBIC)-based method, the team was able to accurately characterize the 3 DOF forearm and wrist impedance, including inertia, damping, and stiffness, for the first time.

Stroke, known as a leading cause of long-term disability, is a sudden loss of brain function, caused by the interruption of blood flow to the brain or the rupture of a blood vessels in the brain and an estimated 150,000 people die from it, each year. As a consequence of stroke, stroke survivors are often left with muscle overactivity, including spasticity. Spasticity is a muscle control disorder that is characterized by tight or stiff muscles and an inability to control those muscles. It is often manifested by increased stretch reflex activity and mechanical joint resistance.

“The dIMBIC-based method can be used to assist in the quantitative and objective evaluation of neurological disorders, like stroke,” says Professor Kang. “Findings from this study will open a new chapter in robot-assisted rehabilitation in the workplace accident rehabilitation hospitals, as well as in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.”

The research team expects that, in the long run, the proposed 3 DOF impedance estimation may promote wrist and forearm motor control studies and complement the diagnosis of the alteration in wrist and forearm resistance post-stroke by providing objective impedance values including cross-coupled terms.

The study has been supported by the Translational Research Center for Rehabilitation Robots, the National Rehabilitation Center, and the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare. It has been also selected as a featured article by IEEE.

Journal Reference
Kyungbin Park, Pyung-Hun Chang, and Sang Hoon Kang, “In Vivo Estimation of Human Forearm and Wrist Dynamic Properties,“ IEEE Trans. Neural Syst. Rehabil. Eng., (2017).



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JooHyeon Heo
Public Relations Team
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST)
E. joohyeonheo@unist.ac.kr | T. 052 217 1223 | M. 010 3880 6622
Off: Main Administration Bldg. 201, Room 407
Robotic devices as therapeutic and diagnostic tools for stroke survivors.
Experimental setup for the estimation of the 3 DOF human forearm and wrist impedance.
Copyright : UNIST

Associated links

Journal information

IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering

Funding information

Translational Research Center for Rehabilitation Robots, the National Rehabilitation Center, the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare.

Keywords associated to this article: health professionals, healthcare service, rehabilitation, stroke survivors, post stroke patients, muscle overactivity, spasticity, UNIST, Sang Hoon Kang, school of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering
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