October 1st, 2002 - September 30th, 2007
Thanks to the new robotic devices with computer displays, there have been great strides in fundamental research that suggests a promising future in clinical rehabilitation of the human sensory-motor system. Although these devices were sufficient for controlled scientific studies, much of this research has been limited. In order to achieve significant practical application in rehabilitation, human-interface robots must safely operate in three dimensions with a large workspace and an appropriately designed visual interface.
We propose to develop instrumentation allowing movement targets, feedback of force or errors in movement. Most importantly, however, will be that the instrumentation will be superimposed on the real-world in order to preserve the reality of everyday tasks. To do this we propose to interface a state-of-art augmented reality (AR) system with a robot.
During each training session, subjects will attempt to extend their fingers sufficiently to grasp virtual objects projected from a computer screen. Testing of maximal free finger extension, isometric and isokinetic extensor torque production, and functional ability will be performed before, during, and after the training to determine if use of either device leads to greater improvement than observed in a group receiving training without assistance.