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Investigation of the Community Use of a New Upper Extremity Exoskeleton by Young Men with DMD

Co-Principal Investigator: Richard Foulds, PhD, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Co-Principal Investigator: Madeline Corrigan, New Jersey Institute of Technology
Subcontract: Blake Mathie, Talem Technologies, LLC

 

Progressive muscle weakness characteristic of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) results in loss of upper extremity active range of motion (AROM) despite residual muscle strength that is insufficient to lift the arms against gravity.  Commercially available passive arm supports attempt to increase upper extremity AROM for these individuals by reducing friction and supporting the arm against gravity using springs or rubber bands.  However, these devices are not widely used by individuals with DMD as they are largely unsuccessful in delivering the independence they seek to provide.  Admittance control is a robotic control paradigm that allows the motion of an exoskeleton to be controlled by the magnitude and direction of the user’s applied force, allowing inherently safe and intuitive user control.  It overcomes the limitations of passive arm supports by reducing the overall force required by the user to generate a movement and provides more sophisticated gravity compensation. 

The objective of this project is to transfer the NJIT developed admittance control strategy as a vertical assist module to the passive arm support developed by Talem Technologies.  This multi-phase project will include development, feasibility testing, user based efficacy testing, and dissemination activities necessary to ready this combination of technologies for commercial availability.

 

PPMD Zach Smith   PPMD Zach Smith
 
PPMD Zach Smith   Zach Smith
 
Zach Smith   PPMD Zach Smith