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Myoelectrically Controlled Power-Assist Upper Extremity Exoskeleton

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Annual Report]

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Upper extremity peripheral nerve injuries accounted for 6 percent of all recorded battlefield injuries during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Upper extremity peripheral nerve injuries are the silent, unrecognized injuries that result in loss of function and sensation in specific patterns depending on the nerves that are injured. In the most severe form, a traumatic brachial plexus avulsion injury, all the nerves to the upper extremity are severed, resulting in an upper extremity lacking motor function and sensation from shoulder to hand. This injury is akin to a functional amputation the extremity is present, but completely nonfunctional. Restoration of elbow flexion is the primary goal following brachial plexus injury since it is a critical motion for daily living. Multiple surgical options exist to achieve this goal. There is a delay of 6 12 months after surgery before muscle reinnervation occurs and muscle strength takes 2 years to mature. During this period a powered exoskeleton would be beneficial for assistance with functional activities. The objective of this program is to design, develop, and validate a powered exoskeleton system to assist elbow flexion in patients with traumatic peripheral nerve injuries who have inadequate motor function. Over the initial year of this project, we have performed the mechanical and electrical designs of the powered exoskeleton. The component elements of the initial design have been integrated into an initial prototype. A myoelectric control algorithm has also been created.


Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Medical Facilities, Equipment and Supplies

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[A, Approved For Public Release]