A hybrid FES-exoskeleton system to rehabilitate the upper limb in disabled people

Coordinator: Tehnical University "Gh. Asachi" Iasi
PCCA: 180/2012

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Step II



Project PCCA nr.180/02.07.2012 Phase II: EXOSLIM Design and experimental model





General objectives:


                        Design and implementation of a light hybrid FES-exoskeleton system type used for arm rehabilitation in CVA patients; The EXOSLIM system will be useful in specialized neurological hospital but it can be used in outpatient care environment.

                        Clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of the EXOSLIM system

                        Dissemination of the EXOSLIM project results.


Step objectives Design and experimental model EXOSLIM.


1.       Design and hardware implementation of an EXOSLIM exoskeleton laboratory model.

2.       Design of the software database for analyzing experimental data.

3.       Investigation of the analysis and synthesis methods of the upper limb cortical projection.

4.       Laboratory tests.

5.       Documentation and protocols design for testing the EXOSLIM system.

6.       Dissemination of results (workshops, participation in conferences, research salons, website update).


                Based on the biomechanics of the upper limb and proposed structural schemes, a mechanical structure has been designed (see Fig.1). It is modular and reconfigurable, so it can accommodate both the right and the left arm.

Fig. 1 Embodiment of the exoskeleton

The kinematics of the exoskeleton system has been analyzed. Modeling and analysis of stress and strain states led to the need to improve the choices by increasing resistance of structural elements, increase rigidity, proper sizing benchmarks, etc.Furthermore, in order to be able to mount and drive the motors a second embodiment of the mechanical structure of the exoskeleton system has been designed (see Fig. 2).

Fig.2 A second variant of the mechanical structure of the exoskeleton

A Matlab model provides relevant information related to the kinematics and dynamics of the exoskeleton system. It helps to complete the design and to choose the proper actuation system. The model has been developed by importing a 3D model of a mannequin (Fig. 3a). The user attached exoskeleton is shown in Fig.3b.


Fig.3a) The upper limb 3D model b) the user attached exoskeleton

                The basic idea of the EXOSLIM project was to develop a hybrid system exoskeleton - functional electrical stimulation (FES) for the recovery of the neurological function in patients who have had a stroke.    

                The extension movement of the arm and shoulder support has been achieved by the simultaneous application of electrical stimuli over the muscles: supraspinatus, deltoid medial triceps and wrist extensors. The arm flexion was obtained by electrically stimulating the biceps and deltoid muscles. The Simulink "Signal Builder" block provides the mean of prescribing the required electrical stimuli (Figure 4 right) and sending them to a MotionStim8 programmable neurostimulator. 


Fig.4 The arrangement of electrodes for applying electrical stimulation over the arm muscles (left). The reference signals to control the muscles contractions (right).

The dissemination has been performed by participating in:

                • Workshop EXOSLIM, 12 Octomber 2013, Conference ICSTCC2013, Sinaia Romania;

                • Workshop, 7 november, 2013, Technical University Iasi;

                • Erasmus IP Programme - DE-2013-ERA/MOPIB-2-29750-1-12, with theme: Smart Home, Jyvaskyla, Finlanda, March 2013 (Robotics for Smart Home, prof.dr.ing. Dan MANDRU).

                • Dissemination of the EXOSLIM project at the Memorial du Saint-Lo Hospital, France, Department of Neurology and Medical Imaging: Psychological aspects and permanent care for psychosocial recovery and reintegration of the patient post stroke, with emphasis on the important role of family / caregivers •

 Published papers:

            o Serea F.,Poboroniuc M. S., Irimia D.C., Hartopanu S., Olaru R., Preliminary Results on a Hybrid FES-Exoskeleton System Aiming To Rehabilitate Upper Limb in Disabled People, in Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Systems Theory, Control and computing ICSTCC2013, Sinaia, Romania, 11-13 October 2013, pp.722-727, ISBN 978-1-4799-2228-4, ISBN 978-1-4799-2227-7, IEEE catalog Number CFP1336P-CDR. indexed IEEE Xplore;

            o Noveanu, S., Chetran, B., Tătar, O., Răducanu, G., Mândru, D., Structural Synthesis of the Upper Limb Modular Wearable Exerciser, Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on System Theory, Control and Computing (ICSTCC-2013), Sinaia, 2013, pp. 693-697, IEEE Catalog Number CFP1336P-CDR, ISBN 978-1-4799-2228-4, (IEEE Xplore indexed).

            o Chetran, B., Noveanu, S., Tătar, O., Răducanu, G., Mândru, D., Modelling of the Upper Limb Wearable Exercisers, International Workshop on Medical and Rehabilitation Engineering Applications – MREA, Sinaia, 2013.

            o Tătar, O., Mândru, D., Noveanu, S., Chetran, B., The kinematic model of 3 DOF rehabilitation robotic exosckeletons, lucrare acceptată la Revista Robotica & Management (revista BDI, B+).

                               o (Ed. Springer): Chetran, B., Jişa, S., Mândru, D., Resistive Torques in Rehabilitation Engineering Equipment, in New Trends in Medical and Service Robots – Theory and Integrated Applications, series Mechanisms and Machine Sciences, Vol. 16, Eds.: Pisla, D., Bleuler, H., Rodic, A., Vaida, C., Pisla, A., 2014, pp.43-56, ISBN 978-3-319-01591-0, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-01592-7_4





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