REHYB@ICL: Deploying our rehabilitation system to the clinic

02.08.2023. In the ReHyb project, the Human Robotics Group at ICL aims at understanding the underlying mechanism of combined FES and robot assistance and how they affect motor and physiological behaviours in stroke patients.

To achieve this goal, we have developed a portable wrist robotic interface, HRX (HumanRobotiX), and we are using it in combination with functional electrical stimulation (FES) by Tecnalia, to provide assistance to the user in a target tracking task (see blog post 21.09.2021). We have already tested its feasibility in healthy participants at ICL.

We have deployed this system, together with Technische Universität München, at Schön Klinik Bad Aibling, where we are running a clinical study and evaluating motor learning over three training sessions. There, therapists are setting up the patient in the system and are calibrating the FES to each patient individually, in order for the stimulation to induce a comfortable and strong motion. The range of motion of the patient is then recorded so that the rehabilitation game is adapted to their own capabilities. Patients then train their wrist flexion/extension motion during a target tracking task where they receive assistance by the robot and/or the stimulation, proportionally to their performance.

26 patients have been recruited so far and we are getting positive feedback on the system: patients generally find the training comfortable and fun, and they report a desire to use it as part of their upper-limb rehabilitation. We also observe performance improvements when patients are assisted by the hybrid system.

The next step for ICL within the ReHyb project is to continue analysing the data and identify useful metrics characterising patients’ state.

A patient trains their wrist flexion/extension with the HRX-FES system at Schoen Clinic