At Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute scientists have developed a new sensitive tactile film to use as the control mechanism for orthotic devices for people with essential tremor. The technology is called Higher Sensitivity Tactile-film System for Wearable Orthosis (HSTS), and it utilizes the thin film to detect pressure regions exerted by the arm on the orthosis. This lets the device differentiate between involuntary tremors and movements initiated by the user.
The system includes the tactile film, data acquisition computer, the software that processes the data, and the robotic orthosis that moves in response to user intentions. The film has tactile sensor arrays and has benefits over electromyography (EMG) to control an orthosis for people with tremor, since it’s not affected by skin temperature and hydration, and can tell the difference between a tremor and intended movement with relative ease.
Here’s a video report about the technology: