Many people that have suffered a stroke are left with hemiparesis, causing weakness or the inability to move one side of the body. When arm and hand movements are limited, it causes those impacted a lot of trouble in performing personal care activities that involve handling objects, such as eating, dressing, using the bathroom. Rehabilitation of such activities requires intensive active and task-specific training. The HandinMind project aims to develop a glove that innovatively combines such therapeutic processes with functional support during activities of daily living.
What is HandinMind?
The unique HandinMind approach extends the therapeutic function of a tool for the early rehabilitation phase to a means for extended training via functional support. By enabling stroke survivors to actively involve their affected hand during activities of daily life (ADL) due to support of the glove, everyday use of the affected hand turns into prolonged training. In this way, improvements coming from task-specific activities can carry through to the patients' daily lives. In other words:
Moving arm and hand therapy from stroke rehab to prolonged functional use in ADL
The HandinMind glove can be worn as any other glove together with a power unit that is placed on the arm or on the back of the user and the embedded software adjusts the amount of extra force to the movement intention of the user. The glove will have a slim design and the same look and feel as a regular glove, so that it doesn’t interfere with carrying out activities of daily life. It will support both hand grip and hand opening with different modules, to target problems like hyperactivity or weakness in wrist and forearm muscles individually. Its support will be based on smart intention detection, so that it only provides support if and where needed, to encourage active contribution to movement as much as possible at all times. In order to cope with changing needs over time and between persons, the system will be adaptive, both in ADL-support and its therapeutic application.
The therapeutic function of the glove is formed by connecting it to a display (a mobile device or PC), activating a number of game-like exercises, tied to activities of daily living (ADL) in order to maximize the long-term benefits of the therapy. Adaptive software will make sure that those games suit the therapeutic goals and abilities of each individual. Information about hand movements can also be fed back to the patient and clinicians to monitor patient progress in a user-friendly way. Another new dimension is added to task-oriented training by additionally exploring the concept of a ‘master’ glove for the unaffected hand, which triggers support of the ‘robotic’ glove, to engage both hands in bimanual activities and enabling mirror therapy in an everyday environment.
The HandinMind project is based on the concept of a robotic glovethat can add extra strength to the grip of persons with reduced hand function and facilitate active execution of hand movements. Our target is the healthcare and rehabilitation market, in particular, the treatment of post-stroke patients.
Our robotic glove targets the following aspects:
Enhanced gripping and grasping support to address hand weakness
Assisted hand opening
"Intention detection" logic that activates the support only if the patients initiate the movement
Interface with external system that allows the user to perform adaptive therapeutic exercises