Design of a Single-Degree-of-Freedom Exoskeleton for Thumb Rehabilitation in Conjunction with FINGER
Thesis (M.S., Mechanical Engineering) - University of Idaho, 2015 | This thesis presents the development of an exoskeleton for post-stroke thumb rehabilitation. This exoskeleton is a six-bar planar single-degree-of-freedom mechanism that controls the position and angle of the middle phalanx of the thumb. It is an add-on for the finger rehabilitation device FINGER for grasp training, which is a fundamental activity of daily living.
The trajectory of the middle phalanx of a healthy human thumb was characterized with color-marker based motion tracking. Mechanisms were synthesized by minimizing the error between the end-effector of the mechanism solutions and the trajectory of the thumb. A mechanism solution was selected for design based on its manufacturability and mechanical advantage. Both the mechanism and an adjustable module to attach the mechanism to the housing for FINGER were designed, then manufactured using a combination of additive manufacturing and CNC machining. This provided a prototype for evaluation to inform future design efforts.