Interactive Robotic Training Modes In Self-telerehabilitation
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Despite the existing evidence of possible recovery long after the onset of stroke, regaining functional use of upper extremity has been an ongoing challenge. Recent neurorehabilitation studies have pointed to technological manipulation of error signals during practice to stimulate improvement in coordination for individuals with a history of stroke. This thesis contains four studies dedicated to exploring prospects of teleoperation using advanced haptic/graphic environments for hemiparetic patients. Reviewing the existing robotic rehabilitation technology, we investigated the concept of error augmentation in addition to standard therapist-guided repetitive practice and how it translates into clinical outcomes in hemiparetic stroke survivors. Development of bimanual skills plays a major role in fostering recovery in neural injuries resulting in hemiparesis, because recovery of both the affected arm, as well as the coordination of both arms, is critical to the restoration of quality of life. In the next step, using healthy subjects, we dug deeper into the bimanual movement and its underlying mechanisms. One experiment examined the intuitiveness of different bimanual reaching modes; mirror versus parallel. In a second experiment, the concept of bimanual movement was tested in a more complicated drawing task where only the left-hand was challenged with a visual transformation, and both hands must have moved either simultaneously or sequentially. These results were then employed in the design of a bimanual self-telerehabilitation experiment tested on chronic stroke survivors. The combination of these studies highlight new prospects for training and functional recovery, and opens new doors for future creative applications such as gaming or full body activity to enhance practice in a variety of fields.