Robot-assisted systems for arm training are being increasingly used to target moderate-to-severe upper limb impairments in rehabilitation facilities, while hand fine motor skills are seldom being targeted by these machines. This manuscript describes and tests the feasibility of a system based on a haptic interface aimed to complement the efficacy of robotic training in the rehabilitation and motor learning associated with upper extremities movements. End-effector kinematics associated with different trajectory tasks performed by 11 healthy adults were used to extract measures of smoothness, under different testing conditions that included the presence or absence of visual and haptic feedback, the use of dominant vs. non dominant hand, different shapes (crosses and circles), and the verse with which movements were done. The normalized mean square jerk, extracted from the system together with specific speed parameters, was able to capture differences in regularity between the different shapes (MSJratio significantly higher when drawing crosses, p < 1.0 E-4), and that haptic feedback significantly influences this smoothness measure (MSJratio significantly higher when haptic feedback is present, p < 5.0 E-4). The proposed system may be used as a means to monitor the progress of movement regularity in robot-mediated therapy, and the results obtained experimentally highlight the influence of haptic feedback on the smoothness of finalized upper extremity fine movements.
D’Elia, B., Bernabucci, I., Bibbo, D., Conforto, S., D'Alessio, T., Sciuto, S.A., et al. (2016). Measuring regularity of fine upper limb movements with a haptic platform for motor learning and rehabilitation. LEKAR A TECHNIKA, 46(1), 5-12.