Soft robotics have shown tremendous potential in helping patients with hand pathologies perform rehabilitation exercises because of the affordability and the inherent softness the soft actuators possess
Robotic rehabilitation soft gloves, also known as robotic soft gloves or exogloves, are wearable devices designed to assist, rehabilitate, or augment the hand palm and fingers functions of individuals with impaired hand movement or strength. They are commonly used in the treatment of stroke survivors, patients with neurological disorders, or those with musculoskeletal injuries.
Key features of robotic rehabilitation soft gloves
- Soft and lightweight materials: The gloves are made of soft, lightweight, and flexible materials, such as fabric or silicone, to ensure comfortable wear and to avoid adding unnecessary weight or bulk to the user’s hand.
- Actuation systems: These gloves use various actuation systems to provide assistance in hand and finger movements. Common actuation systems include cable-driven mechanisms, pneumatic artificial muscles (PAMs), shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators, and soft robotic actuators, such as dielectric elastomers.
- Sensors: To monitor the user’s movement and provide adaptive assistance, rehabilitation gloves are embedded with different types of sensors, including force sensors, position sensors (e.g., potentiometers or encoders), and electromyography (EMG) sensors to detect muscle activation.
- Control algorithms: Advanced control algorithms process the data collected from the sensors and determine the appropriate level of assistance required based on the user’s needs, capabilities, and progress. These algorithms can include machine learning techniques for adaptive and personalized assistance.
- Customizable design: Robotic rehabilitation soft gloves are often designed to be customizable in terms of size, shape, and level of support to suit the specific needs of individual users.
- Integration with therapy programs: These devices are often used in conjunction with traditional occupational or physical therapy programs to enhance the recovery process and ensure that the patient is receiving the most effective treatment.
Benefits of robotic rehabilitation soft gloves
- Improved motor function: By providing assistance in hand and finger movements, the gloves help users regain strength, dexterity, and motor control.
- Faster recovery: The gloves enable patients to engage in more frequent and intensive therapy sessions, leading to accelerated progress and better recovery outcomes.
- Increased independence: By assisting with everyday tasks, these gloves can help users regain their independence and improve their overall quality of life.
- Personalized therapy: The adaptive nature of these devices ensures that each user receives personalized and targeted support based on their specific needs and progress.