Despite quantifiable gains in motor function as a result of intensive upper limb rehabilitation using robotic devices, individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) still desire increased independence that requires improved hand function. We have designed a soft robotic glove that can assist in activities of daily living (ADL). The soft, flexible glove has cable-like tendons that run along the fingers on both the palm and back of hand. Motors that are controlled to synchronously pull these tendons are used to achieve several coordinated grasp poses that are shown to support most ADLs, increasing independence and function of the wearer. Regaining the ability to perform functional tasks not only improves quality of life, but may have beneficial implications for improving the efficacy of rehabilitation interventions. The glove assists the participant in performing functional tasks which encourage greater involvement in therapy. Investigations of the role of the assistive glove in upper extremity function and reaching will focus on the potential for the device to increase the quantity and quality of use of the unassisted upper extremity joints when performing tasks.
Latest glove design includes updated actuator housings, designed to reduce friction and tendon wear.