Bilateral robot therapy based on haptics and reinforcement learning: Feasibility study of a new concept for treatment of patients after stroke
Valentina Squeri, Maura Casadio, Elena Vergaro, Psiche Giannoni , Pietro Morasso, Vittorio Sanguineti
Objective: To carry out a preliminary feasibility study of a new concept of robot therapy for severely impaired patients after stroke.
Design: A haptic manipulandum connected to a bar that can rotate freely while providing a measure of the rotation angle. The controller combines a bilateral reaching task with the task of balancing the action of the 2 arms. Reinforcement is given to the subject in 2 forms: audio-visual and haptic by means of adaptable force fields.
Patients: Four highly paretic patients with chronic stroke (Fugl-Meyer score less than 15).
Methods: The training cycle consisted of 5 sessions over a period of 2 weeks. Each session (45 min) was divided in blocks of 10 pairs of forward/backward movements. Performance was determined by evaluating the number of successful movements per session, the session-by-session decrease in the assistive field, the mean reaching time, and the mean stopping field.
Results: All subjects could understand the task, appreciated it and improved their performance during training. The reaching movements became smoother and quicker; balance errors and the magnitude of the resisting field were consistently reduced.
Conclusion: Bilateral robot therapy is a promising technique, provided that it self-adapts to the patient’s performance. Formal clinical trials should address this point.
Do you want to comment on this paper? The comments will show up here and if appropriate the comments will also separately be forwarded to the authors.
You need to login/create an account to comment on articles. Click here to login/create an account