Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine

Title abbreviation: Adv Clin Exp Med
JCR Impact Factor (IF) – 1.736
5-Year Impact Factor – 2.135
Index Copernicus  – 168.52
MEiN – 70 pts

ISSN 1899–5276 (print)
ISSN 2451-2680 (online)
Periodicity – monthly

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Advances in Clinical and Experimental Medicine

2018, vol. 27, nr 12, December, p. 1661–1669

doi: 10.17219/acem/74556

Publication type: original article

Language: English

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Design and control of system for elbow rehabilitation: Preliminary findings

Tadeusz Mikołajczyk1,A,B,C,D,E,F, Adam Kłodowski2,A,B,C,D,E,F, Emilia Mikołajewska3,B,C,D,E,F, Paweł Walkowiak1,B,C,D,E,F, Pedro Berjano4,A,B,C,D,E,F, Jorge Hugo Villafañe5,A,B,C,D,E,F, Francesco Aggogeri6,B,C,D,E,F, Alberto Borboni6,B,C,D,E,F, Davide Fausti7,B,C,D,E,F, Gianluigi Petrogalli7,B,C,D,E,F

1 Department of Production Technology, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Science and Technology, Bydgoszcz, Poland

2 Laboratory of Machine Design, School of Energy Systems, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland

3 Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ludwik Rydygier Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland

4 GSpine4 Spine Surgery Division, Institute for Recovery and Care of Scientific Characteristics – Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute, Milan, Italy

5 Institute for Recovery and Care of Scientific Characteristics – Don Gnocchi Foundation, Milan, Italy

6 Applied Mechanics Research Group, Faculty of Engineering, University of Brescia, Italy

7 Research and Development Department, Polibrixia Innovation Engineering, Brescia, Italy


Background. The use of an exoskeleton elbow is considered an effective treatment in several pathologies, including post-stroke complications, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and spinal cord injury (SCI), as well as in patients with neurodegenerative disorders. The effectiveness of rehabilitation is closely linked to a suitably chosen therapy. The treatment can be performed only by specialized personnel, significantly supported by the use of automated devices.
Objectives. The aim of this study was to present a novel exoskeleton for elbow rehabilitation without a complicated control system.
Material and Methods. Single-degree-of-freedom (SDOF) solution in constructing the prototype of an elbow exoskeleton for rehabilitation purposes has been applied. The simplicity of the actuation mechanism was set as one of the priorities in the design; thus, a single-axis stepper motor with a controller was found to be adequate for providing a reliable and precise source of motion for the exoskeleton.
Results. Technological development may provide novel solutions, such as an exoskeleton – a wearable, external structure which supports or (in selected applications) even replaces the muscle actuation in the patient. The reported advantages of the proposed exoskeleton reflect current state-of-the-art. The proposed control strategy relies on closed-loop position control, performance, low manufacturing cost, and predicted performance in a rehabilitation scenario. All these factors play an important role in establishing the directions for further research, e.g., an integrated force sensor in the device, measurements of torque interactions on the elbow joint, and assessment and response to an overload of articulation.
Conclusion. This study suggests not only the clinical but also the possible economic and logistical advantages offered by the portability of the system, and its effective support for therapists applying an elbow exoskeleton.

Key words

rehabilitation, assistive technology, elbow, exoskeleton, upper limb exoskeleton

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