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Integration of a Passive Exoskeleton and a Robotic Supernumerary Finger for Grasping Compensation in Chronic Stroke Patients: The SoftPro Wearable System

, Leonardo Franco, Martin Tschiersky, , Matteo Bianchi, Antonio Bicchi, Federica Barontini, Manuel Catalano, Giorgio Grioli, Mattia Poggiani,
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Published: 10 June 2021
Frontiers in Robotics and AI , Volume 8; doi:10.3389/frobt.2021.661354

Abstract: Upper-limb impairments are all-pervasive in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). As a consequence, people affected by a loss of arm function must endure severe limitations. To compensate for the lack of a functional arm and hand, we developed a wearable system that combines different assistive technologies including sensing, haptics, orthotics and robotics. The result is a device that helps lifting the forearm by means of a passive exoskeleton and improves the grasping ability of the impaired hand by employing a wearable robotic supernumerary finger. A pilot study involving 3 patients, which was conducted to test the capability of the device to assist in performing ADLs, confirmed its usefulness and serves as a first step in the investigation of novel paradigms for robotic assistance.
Keywords: assistive robotics / wearable robotics / exoskeletons / human-robot interfaces / Upper-limb impairments

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