Help An Hand With Another: 3D-Printed Rehabilitation Hand Exoskeleton

Carmen Colucci, Marycarmen Flores Lopez, Eleanor Thomson

Biomedical Engineering

4

Year of study:

Abstract

In the past years, the incidence of neurological and traumatic events has been increasing. The majority of these require long-term rehabilitation treatments which can economically impact the life of the patient. Rehabilitation therapies can be quite expensive as the equipment and the methodologies involved are costly. Furthermore, in some countries, there is no access at all to these facilities. As the number of patients increases by year, so does the need for new innovative and cost-effective machinery for a patient’s rehabilitation.

Our project focuses on the development of a 3D printed exoskeleton hand. It will be used by healthcare professionals to quantitatively assess the progress made by the rehabilitation patient, measuring the strength gained and movement range of wrist, flexor and extensors. Alternatively, it can be used by patients in search of a more economic and equally effective alternative for their treatment.

The hand exoskeleton would be easy to transport and build, making it accessible to a wider portion of the population as it won’t need as much technical practice or experience to function. Patients would be able to use it at home, further reducing the number of doctors appointments. These features would make the device cheaper than existing hand exoskeletons, which are quite heavy and thus cannot be moved easily, making them unsuitable for home rehabilitation.

In conclusion, if this prototype is feasible and proves to be effective, it could be licensed to companies with more extensive distribution systems reaching a larger market.