An assistive device for individuals with upper extremity neuromuscular deficit has been developed by researchers at Vanderbilt. This device is specifically designed for patients having hemiplegia following stroke, incomplete spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, and other disabilities and conditions, who may have severe muscle weakness or inability to fully control an upper limb. In order to facilitate use of the upper limb, the patient can wear the device as a substitute for or a supplement to the patient’s volitional movement.
At present, individuals suffering from inhibited control or loss of control of an upper limb are constrained from accomplishing regular bimanual tasks. No device exists currently that would allow an individual to use his or her dysfunctional upper limb in any desired capacity or degree of utility.
In the present embodiment, a person with dense upper extremity hemiplegia (i.e., people who have one essentially functional and one essentially non-functional arm) or a person with other neuromuscular impairments would wear the device on the non-functional arm and would be able to maintain the arm in a given static posture. The user can use his or her functional arm to manipulate the affected arm and hand into various poses or postures. Other embodiments involve repositioning and reconfiguration of the affected hand via use of a powered actuator or a separate apparatus.
Intellectual Property Status
- Provisional patent application being filed
- A working prototype has been built and is undergoing testing