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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurorobot. | doi: 10.3389/fnbot.2019.00072

Design and Evaluation of a Novel Experimental Setup for Upper Limb Intermuscular Coordination Studies

  • 1Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, KAIST, South Korea
  • 2Department of Neurorehabilitation, National Rehabilitation Center, South Korea
  • 3Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, United States

Motor disabilities limiting the mobility of limbs affect the quality of lives of people with neural injuries. Among various types of motor disabilities, abnormal intermuscular coordination is commonly observed from people with severe impairment. The concept of muscle synergy, defined as characteristic muscle co-activation patterns activated to produce complex motor behavior, has been applied to assess the alteration in intermuscular coordination in pathological populations. This study presents the development of a robotic system named KAIST upper limb synergy investigation system (KULSIS), for accurate measurement of intermuscular synergies while providing the convenient experimental setup. It provides full force/moment measurements for isometric force generation tasks at various upper limb postures and reaching tasks in a three-dimensional workspace. It is composed of: a three-degree-of-freedom gimbaled handle to adjust the orientation of the handle to accommodate potential hand-wrist deformity, a linear actuator that moves the handle for reaching tasks; a five-degree-of-freedom mechanism for positioning and adjusting the orientation of the linear actuator. The design was evaluated in terms of the workspace of the handle, mechanical stiffness and force/moment measurement accuracy. The position/force measurement is synchronized with electromyographic measurements. Muscle synergy patterns, activated during four isokinetic reaching motions, were also assessed as preliminary data using KULSIS from ten healthy subjects.

Keywords: Intermuscular coordination, Muscle Synergy, Upper limb, Experimental setup, mechanism design, Performace evaluation

Received: 23 May 2019; Accepted: 16 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Park, Shin, Lee, Park, Roh and Park. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Jinsook Roh, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cullen College of Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, 77204-4007, Texas, United States, jroh@central.uh.edu
Prof. Hyung-Soon Park, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, South Korea, hyungspark@kaist.ac.kr