The development of a computer based system for the rehabilitation of arm movements of stroke patients

Prasser, Nathan (2008) The development of a computer based system for the rehabilitation of arm movements of stroke patients. [USQ Project]


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[Abstract]: Strokes are a very commonly occuring medical event. In Australia alone around 53,000 people suffer from a stroke each year. A stroke occurs when the normal blood flow to the brain is interrupted causing sections of the brain located around the affected areas to become starved
of oxygen and nutrients. The damage caused to the brain during a stroke can leave the affected person with different types of mental and physical disabilities. It is currently known that the physical disbalilities that can result after a stroke can be overcome by the use of physical
therapy allowing a stroke victim to continue a normal life.

The aim of this project was to design and build a computer based system that could assess and exercise the upper extremities of stroke patients. A literature review revealed that the most successful outcome that has been seen with experimental physical rehabilitation is to combine
constraint induced therapy with robot-aided neuro-rehabilitation.

The system that was designed over the course of this project operated within a two dimensional field, therfore only two degrees of freedom were required. The movements of this two link system were measured and logged with the use of two precision potentiometers, one located in each rotational joint. This allows all movements made by the patient to be later recalled to assess progress the patient has made. Improvements would be determined by comparing the path the patient has taken compared to the optimum path between targets.

Overall the system had very high precision and was able to obtain the required work area for sufficient exercise to be completed. The GUI developed in coordination with the stroke
technology is simple to use and bug free. The GUI was designed to be very adaptable to the requirements for any user by adding as many functions as possible while still remaining simple.

The future work required on this system would include further researching the tracking technology and possibly incorporating a more accurate potentiometer. The system currently offers passive exercise, the addition of other technolgies (e.g. DC motors) has still yet to be introduced to allow active movement. Suggestions of possible technologies and designs to incorporate this function are discussed throughout this dissertation. The GUI software should be further developed to allow automatic improvement calculations to be performed, and displayed in a user friendly manner e.g. percentage of improvement.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2009 01:40
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: stroke patient; rehabilitation technology; rehabilitation equipment; medical care
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0913 Mechanical Engineering > 091399 Mechanical Engineering not elsewhere classified
09 Engineering > 0913 Mechanical Engineering > 091302 Automation and Control Engineering
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4017 Mechanical engineering > 401799 Mechanical engineering not elsewhere classified
40 ENGINEERING > 4007 Control engineering, mechatronics and robotics > 400799 Control engineering, mechatronics and robotics not elsewhere classified

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