Upper-limb motor impairment is caused by a wide variety of diseases, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), stroke, and arthrogryposis multiplex congenita [1,2]. The resultant arm dysfunction can cause the patient to be incapable of many daily tasks, and therefore increasingly reliant on others for their care. Since many of the underlying diseases are either chronic or incurable, some current therapeutics take the form of orthotic devices that assist upper limb function, thereby improving patient quality of life . One such example is the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX), consisting of a set of gravity-counterbalancing exoskeleton arms attached to either a full upper-body brace, or in previous models, a wheelchair . This device and its successors have proven to be significant aids in allowing patients to perform everyday tasks such as eating and writing . However, according to both patients and physicians, this device and others, while effective, are often underutilized due to factors including brace size and weight, low device comfort, unappealing brace aesthetics, low range of motion, and lack of brace adjustability. In order to increase patient utilization of exoskeleton arm systems, we thus propose the replacement of the current brace system with a novel vest device, designed specifically for increased patient comfort, device adjustability, aesthetics, and range of motion, while preserving the existing strength and durability of current solutions.
An Improved and Adjustable Vest System for the Support of Gravity-Counterbalancing Exoskeleton Arms
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Andersen, B, & Angerhofer, N. "An Improved and Adjustable Vest System for the Support of Gravity-Counterbalancing Exoskeleton Arms." Proceedings of the 2017 Design of Medical Devices Conference. 2017 Design of Medical Devices Conference. Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. April 10–13, 2017. V001T03A001. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/DMD2017-3361
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