Infoscience

Thesis

Wearable systems for grasp rehabilitation after stroke

Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability, causing both motor and cognitive impairments. Stroke impacts both motor and somatosensory capabilities of the individual, causing distorted perception of the environment and of the body. Consequently persons with grasp impairments are subject to activity limitations and participation restriction because of perceptive limitations and because of reduced control of the affected limb. Recent medical research has demonstrated that the contextual matching of motor intent with rehabilitation assistance is a decisive factor for success of therapies that involve functional electrical stimulation. In clinical practice therapies based on transcutaneous electrical stimulation are not efficiently integrated to provide such training in a simple fashion. In this thesis I present the evolution of a wearable neurorehabilitation system in which a multichannel transcutaneous electrical stimulation is used for grasp rehabilitation. Different embodiments of the system are used for transitioning from research-grade prototype to devices usable in clinical trials requiring minimal or absent engineering supervision.

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