The Health Equity Institute NeuroTech Lab has a keen interest in developing and utilzing robotic technology for the upper extremity rehabilitation in underserved populations. We have recently acquired a haptic robotic system (wristBOT) developed by the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, which we use to examine upper extremity neuromotor control and rehabilitation.
The wristBOT is a 3 DOFs (Degrees Of Freedom) manipulandum developed for motor control study and rehabilitation. It allows full range of motion for the human wrist and is fully backdrivable, in order to allow the design of experiments in which a low end-point impedance is a key aspect. When a subject attempts to backdrive the robot, the interaction forces must be small enough to give the sensation as no device was connected. The wristBOT includes a series of motors that can apply torques to a human wirst about the three axes of rotations: pronation/supination, flexion/extension and abduction/adduction. The wristBOT can deliver assistance or resistance or perturbation forces and can be used for rehabilitation or behavioral sciences. A controller, such as a programmed computer, may direct the actuation of a various motors to execute a rehabilitation or training program. A wrist attachment can be combined with shoulder elbow motion by a planar device or a robotic manipulandum in order to provide coordinated therapy for upper extremity.