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Mobile Exoneuromusculoskeleton for effective, affordable and self-help rehabilitation after stroke

Overview

A novel robotic arm that incorporates exoskeleton, soft robot and neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) in one system, for effective and self-help mobile rehabilitation after stroke. It supports physical training at the elbow, wrist and fingers under voluntary effort control through electromyography (EMG) and offers long-term telerehabilitation management. It is lightweight, compact and low-power-requirement, which makes rehabilitation accessible anytime and anywhere.

  • Mobile Exoneuromusculoskeleton for effective, affordable and self-help rehabilitation after stroke 0
  • Mobile Exoneuromusculoskeleton for effective, affordable and self-help rehabilitation after stroke 1
  • Mobile Exoneuromusculoskeleton for effective, affordable and self-help rehabilitation after stroke 2
Commercialisation opportunities
IP licensing, Collaboration for product development, Product distribution
Problem addressed

Upper limb motor deficits are noted in >80% of stroke survivors, who require intensive, repeated and long-term rehabilitation to reduce physical impairments and regain independence. However, patients have limited access to post-stroke treatments with the necessary training intensity because of expanding stroke population and a lack of professionals worldwide and other difficulties, e.g., commuting to outpatient services in day hospitals.

Innovation
  • This system offers EMG-driven NMES-robot treatment that supports the repeated-and-intensive practice of the paretic limb with maximized voluntary motor effort and minimized compensatory motions, for superior motor function recovery.
  • The system can apply to both conventional and unconventional environments (e.g., home/ a park) and provide rehabilitation training for both inpatients and outpatients with long-term telerehabilitation management.
  • The system supports effective rehabilitation training without on-site and real-time professional supervision. With telerehabilitation management, the users and their healthcare professionals can track and review the rehabilitation progress and training data.
Key impact
  • Significant motor improvements in the entire upper limb; released muscle spasticity at the elbow, wrist, and fingers; and improved muscular coordination in the entire upper limb were achieved after the training assisted by the system.
  • EMG-driven NMES-robot treatments can achieve better and faster motor function recovery and higher sustainability of motor gains in the long term compared to either NMES / robot solo treatments or EMG-driven robot solo treatments in post-stroke upper-limb rehabilitation.
  • The system can support effective and self-help training in both indoor and outdoor environments and provides flexibility in terms of training schedule (e.g., at weekends/ at midnight). This new training mode of telerehabilitation could be an additional and effective option to support regular and long-term rehabilitation for patients with stroke.
  • Patients with stroke can continue and complete the home-based training assisted by this system during the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the conventional face-to-face post-stroke therapy has been largely suspended due to social distancing restrictions.
Award
  • A Grand Prize, a Gold Medal and a Special Merit Prize, at the "2019 Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions"
  • Listed as one of the 5-key development in the rehabilitation robots market in “Rehabilitation Robots Market - Global Industry Insights, Trends, Outlook, and Opportunity Analysis, 2018-2026”, Coherent Market Insights, 2021
Application
  • Stroke Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation after Spinal Cord Injury
  • Orthopaedics and Traumatology Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation in Sarcopenic Elderly
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