Design of a robot-assisted exoskeleton for passive wrist and forearm rehabilitation
This paper presents a new exoskeleton design for wrist and forearm rehabilitation. The contribution of this study is to offer a methodology which shows how to adapt a serial manipulator that reduces the number of actuators used on exoskeleton design for the rehabilitation. The system offered is a combination of end-effector- and exoskeleton-based devices. The passive exoskeleton is attached to the end effector of the manipulator, which provides motion for the purpose of rehabilitation process. The Denso VP 6-Axis Articulated Robot is used to control motion of the exoskeleton during the rehabilitation process. The exoskeleton is designed to be used for both wrist and forearm motions. The desired moving capabilities of the exoskeleton are flexion–extension (FE) and adduction–abduction (AA) motions for the wrist and pronation–supination (PS) motion for the forearm. The anatomical structure of a human limb is taken as a constraint during the design. The joints on the exoskeleton can be locked or unlocked manually in order to restrict or enable the movements. The parts of the exoskeleton include mechanical stoppers to prevent the excessive motion. One passive degree of freedom (DOF) is added in order to prevent misalignment problems between the axes of FE and AA motions. Kinematic feedback of the experiments is performed by using a wireless motion tracker assembled on the exoskeleton. The results proved that motion transmission from robot to exoskeleton is satisfactorily achieved. Instead of different exoskeletons in which each axis is driven and controlled separately, one serial robot with adaptable passive exoskeletons is adequate to facilitate rehabilitation exercises.