A team of Dutch researchers have been working on a orthotic robotic arm to help people with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that exhibits physical weakness throughout the body. People with the disease, which progresses over time, will often become too weak to do simple tasks with their arms. To help overcome this weakness, the researchers built a device that holds onto the person’s arm and gives it the strength that it’s missing.
The orthosis moves along with the arm and only provides assistive power when needed. It actively monitors the electrical activity of the muscles that it’s trying to help and activates its motors in response to the electromyography (EMG) signals.
The device has already been tested and shown to help people with Duchenne to manipulate objects that they otherwise would not have the strength to do. Additionally, the arm can be used to assess the level of a patient’s disability based on how much it ends up helping to perform a set of routine tasks.
Source: University of Twente…