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29 April 2008 Elastomeric contractile actuators for hand rehabilitation splints
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Abstract
The significant electromechanical performances typically shown by dielectric elastomer actuators make this polymer technology particularly attractive for possible active orthoses for rehabilitation. Folded contractile actuators made of dielectric elastomers were recently described as a simple configuration, suitable to easily implement linear contractile devices. This paper describes an application of folded actuators for so-called hand splints: they consist of orthotic systems for hand rehabilitation. The dynamic versions of the state-of-the-art splints typically include elastic bands, which exert a passive elastic resistance to voluntary elongations of one or more fingers. In order to provide such splints with the possibility of electrically modulating the compliance of the resistive elements, the substitution of the passive elastic bands with the contractile actuators is here described. The electrical activation of the actuators is used to vary the compliance of the system; this enables modulations of the force that acts as an antagonist to voluntary finger movements, according to programmable rehabilitation exercises. The paper reports results obtained from the first prototype implementations of such a type of system.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Federico Carpi, Andrea Mannini, and Danilo De Rossi "Elastomeric contractile actuators for hand rehabilitation splints", Proc. SPIE 6927, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2008, 692705 (29 April 2008); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.774644
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