Therapeutic effect of prolonged use of a wearable soft-robotic glove during ADL on reduced hand function.

Background

The hand is important to perform activities of daily living (ADL). However, many people experience a loss of hand function as result of a traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke or orthopedic problems. The experience of a decline in hand function can be a result of a reduction in grip strength, finger dexterity, sensation or muscle coordination. These limitations can have a negative effect on ADL performance, participation in society and/or quality of life. Therefore, it is important to restore and maintain hand motor function of people with an impaired hand function. Assistive devices have the potential to provide the assistance that is necessary to perform ADL independently. A promising approach is a wearable soft robotic device assisting a person’s own function in daily life. With a wearable assistive device, performance of functional activities can be enhanced directly, while using the affected arm and hand repeatedly during functional daily activities, which provides intensive and task-specific training at the same time. Therefore the Carbon Hand (see picture), an easy to use and affordable wearable soft-robotic glove, was developed, to support people with hand function problems. The Carbon Hand system provides support for grip in a natural and intuitive way, but only if the user initiates the movement actively.

iHand study

In 2019 the ongoing multicentre iHand study started, taking place in seven centers in the Netherlands. The aim is to include 63 chronic patients with perceived hand function problems. Subjects will use the glove during ADL at home for six weeks while keeping a diary of the performed activities. Before and after this six-week period clinical tests and questionnaires are used to assess the effect of the glove. Local researchers perform all patient contact and execute measurements. RRD coordinates the study and performs data analysis and reporting.

Main student activities

The main objective of this assignment is to evaluate the results of the project so far. In addition, the student will support with all occurring activities within the project.

Student profile

For this assignment, with a duration of approximately 6-8 months, we are looking for an independent, accurate and motivated master student human movement sciences, health sciences or similar, who has affinity with rehabilitation and assistive devices. Speaking Dutch is desired. Castor is used as data platform within the project, so experience with Castor is an advantage. Preferred start of the assignment is end of 2020/beginning of 2021.

Roessingh Research & Development

The assignment will be performed at Roessingh Research and Development (RRD) in Enschede. Within RRD a wide range of disciplines such as rehabilitation medicine, movement sciences, psychology, physiotherapy, biomedical sciences and computer sciences work together on current and future innovations in rehabilitation and chronic care. RRD occupies a unique position between the university and healthcare practice.

Reaction

Please send your application, including CV to ihand@rrd.nl. This e-mail address can also be used for more information and questions.