Instrumented platform for assessment of isometric hand muscles contractions

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Measurement of forces exerted by a human hand while performing common gestures is a highly valuable task for assessment of neurorehabilitation and neurological disorders, but also, for control of movement that could be directly transferred to assistive devices. Even though accurate and selective multi-joint measurement of hand forces is desirable in both clinical and research applications there is no commercially available device able to perform such measurements. Moreover, the custom-made systems used in research commonly impose limitations, such as availability of only single, predefined hand aperture. Furthermore, there is no consensus on design requirements for custom made measurement systems that would enable comparison of results obtained during research or clinical hand function studies. In an attempt to provide a possible solution for a device capable of multi-joint hand forces measurement and disseminate it to the research community, this paper presents the mechanical and electronic design of an instrumented platform for assessment of isometric hand muscles contractions. Some of the key features related to the developed system are: flexibility in placing the hand/fingers, fast and easy hand fitting, adjustability to different lengths, circumferences and postures of the digits, and the possibility to register individual bidirectional forces from the digits and the wrist. The accuracy of isometric force measurements was evaluated in a controlled test with the reference high accuracy force gauge device during which the developed system showed high linearity (R 2 = 0.9999). As the more realistic test, the device was evaluated when force was applied to individual sensors but also during the intramuscular electromyography (iEMG) study. The data gathered during the iEMG measurements was thoroughly assessed to obtain three appropriate metrics; the first estimating crosstalk between individual force sensors; the second evaluating agreement between measured forces and forces estimated through iEMG; and the third providing qualitative evaluation of hand force in respect to activations of individual muscle units. The results of these analyses performed on multiple joint forces show agreement with previously published results, but with the difference that in that case, the measurement was performed with a single degree of freedom device.

TidskriftMeasurement Science and Technology
StatusPublished - 2019 apr. 30

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Annan medicinteknik
  • Biomedicinsk laboratorievetenskap/teknologi


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