Principal Investigator: Anjal Sharma, PhD, Lynntech, Inc.
Northwestern University Principal Investigator: Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)
Co-Investigators: Rebecca Stine, MS (Jesse Brown VA Medical Center); Elliot Roth, MD (Northwestern University); Daniel Nagle, MD (Northwestern University)
Research Assistant: Vasanth Subramanian, MS
Funded by: Department of Defense (Phase II SBIR, Award W81XWH-16-C-0012)
Status: In Progress
The aim of the iGRAB, Innovative Glove for Rehabilitation and Assistance using Biomimicry, is to provide assistance during rehabilitation and every day activities to hand function that has been impaired by injury. During this Phase II Small Business Innovation Research project, our collaborators at Lynntech Inc. will continue development of the iGRAB from proof-of-concept to working protoypes (Figure shows conceptual design of prototype). Efficacy of the device in assisting grasping activities in persons with impaired hand function must be demonstrated. Therefore, at NUPOC quantitative clinical evaluation of hand function with and without the iGRAB will be evaluated in persons with impaired hand function.
We will conduct a before and after trial of subjects with hand impairments due to stroke and traumatic hand injury. In stroke patients, patient-reported hand function will be characterized using the ABILHAND measure of manual ability for adults with upper limb impairments. In hand trauma patients, patient-reported hand function will be characterized using the Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand (DASH). On both testing occasions, hand function will be assessed during execution of functional tasks, similar to prior evaluation of upper limb prosthesis users in our laboratory. The Action Research Arm Test (ARAT) typically assesses upper limb functioning using observational analysis and grading of four subtests: grasp, grip, pinch, and gross movement. For this study, kinematic hand data during ARAT grasp and grip subtests will be collected with our motion capture system using retro-reflective markers located on the hand and forearm. Grip pressure during the grip subtest will be assessed simultaneously with kinematics using the pliance pressure measurement system with sensors mounted on the objects to be manipulated, like the glass full of water that is poured into another glass. Satisfaction with device will be assessed in both groups using the Orthotic and Prosthetic Users’ Survey (OPUS) since it is suitable for both groups.
- This project will allow demonstration of efficacy for persons similar to the intended military population with hand trauma as well as stroke subjects, especially among the Veteran population.
- Recovery of hand function following stroke is particularly poor compared with recovery of mobility. Up to three quarters of post-stroke patients have difficulty with grasping, holding and manipulating objects 3-6 months after their stroke, compared to 83% of post-stroke patients who are able to relearn walking.
- Following acute rehabilitation, patients with hand trauma may be left with scarring, decreased range of motion, sensory deficits, decreased strength and conditioning, and functional deficits.
- Evidence of iGRAB’s potential utility in helping patients from both populations regain hand function will greatly strengthen the likelihood of eventual commercial transition and acceptance of iGRAB for military, Veteran and civilian patient rehabilitation and assistance.