Citation: Journal of Neuroengineering & Rehabilitation. 15(1):13, 2018 Mar 02.Journal: Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation.Published: 2018ISSN: 1743-0003.Full author list: Chen J; Lum PS.UI/PMID: 29499712.Subject(s): IN PROCESS -- NOT YET INDEXEDInstitution(s): MedStar National Rehabilitation NetworkActivity type: Journal Article.Medline article type(s): Journal ArticleOnline resources: Click here to access onlineDigital Object Identifier: https://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12984-018-0352-4 (Click here)ORCID: Chen, Ji http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4171-1397 (Click here)Abbreviated citation: J Neuroengineering Rehabil. 15(1):13, 2018 Mar 02.Local Holdings: Available online through MWHC library: 2004 - present.Abstract: BACKGROUND: Robotic devices for neurorehabilitation of movement impairments in persons with stroke have been studied extensively. However, the vast majority of these devices only allow practice of stereotyped components of simulated functional tasks in the clinic. Previously we developed SpringWear, a wearable, spring operated, upper extremity exoskeleton capable of assisting movements during real-life functional activities, potentially in the home. SpringWear assists shoulder flexion, elbow extension and forearm supination/pronation. The assistance profiles were designed to approximate the torque required to move the joint passively through its range. These three assisted DOF are combined with two passive shoulder DOF, allowing complex multi-joint movement patterns.Abstract: METHODS: We performed a cross-sectional study to assess changes in movement patterns when assisted by SpringWear. Thirteen persons with chronic stroke performed range of motion (ROM) and functional tasks, including pick and place tasks with various objects. Sensors on the device measured rotation at all 5 DOF and a kinematic model calculated position of the wrist relative to the shoulder. Within subject t-tests were used to determine changes with assistance from SpringWear.Abstract: RESULTS: Maximum shoulder flexion, elbow extension and forearm pronation/supination angles increased significantly during both ROM and functional tasks (p <0.002). Elbow flexion/extension ROM also increased significantly (p <0.001). When the subjects volitionally held up the arm against gravity, extension at the index finger proximal interphalangeal joint increased significantly (p =0.033) when assisted by SpringWear. The forward reach workspace increased 19% (p =0.002). Nine subjects could not complete the functional tasks unassisted and only one showed improvement on task completion with SpringWear.Abstract: CONCLUSIONS: SpringWear increased the usable workspace during reaching movements, but there was no consistent improvement in the ability to complete functional tasks. Assistance levels at the shoulder were increased only until the shoulder could be voluntarily held at 90 degrees of flexion. A higher level of assistance may have yielded better results. Also combining SpringWear with HandSOME, an exoskeleton for assisting hand opening, may yield the most dramatic improvements in functional task performance. These low-cost devices can potentially reduce effort and improve performance during task practice, increasing adherence to home training programs for rehabilitation.