Background Robotic rehabilitation is a commonly adopted technique used to restore motor functionality of neurological patients. However, despite promising results were achieved, the effects of human-robot interaction on human motor control and the recovery mechanisms induced with robot assistance can be further investigated even on healthy subjects before translating to clinical practice. In this study, we adopt a standard paradigm for upper-limb rehabilitation (a planar device with assistive control) with linear and challenging curvilinear trajectories to investigate the effect of the assistance in human-robot interaction in healthy people. Methods Ten healthy subjects were instructed to perform a large set of radial and curvilinear movements in two interaction modes: 1) free movement (subjects hold the robot handle with no assistance) and 2) assisted movement (with a force tunnel assistance paradigm). Kinematics and EMGs from representative upper-limb muscles were recorded to extract phasic muscle synergies. The free and assisted interaction modes were compared assessing the level of assistance, error, and muscle synergy comparison between the two interaction modes. Results It was found that in free movement error magnitude is higher than with assistance, proving that task complexity required assistance also on healthy controls. Moreover, curvilinear tasks require more assistance than standard radial paths and error is higher. Interestingly, while assistance improved task performance, we found only a slight modification of phasic synergies when comparing assisted and free movement. Conclusions We found that on healthy people, the effect of assistance was significant on task performance, but limited on muscle synergies. The findings of this study can find applications for assessing human-robot interaction and to design training to maximize motor recovery.

The effects of robotic assistance on upper limb spatial muscle synergies in healthy people during planar upper-limb training

Malosio M.;Pedrocchi A.;
2022-01-01

Abstract

Background Robotic rehabilitation is a commonly adopted technique used to restore motor functionality of neurological patients. However, despite promising results were achieved, the effects of human-robot interaction on human motor control and the recovery mechanisms induced with robot assistance can be further investigated even on healthy subjects before translating to clinical practice. In this study, we adopt a standard paradigm for upper-limb rehabilitation (a planar device with assistive control) with linear and challenging curvilinear trajectories to investigate the effect of the assistance in human-robot interaction in healthy people. Methods Ten healthy subjects were instructed to perform a large set of radial and curvilinear movements in two interaction modes: 1) free movement (subjects hold the robot handle with no assistance) and 2) assisted movement (with a force tunnel assistance paradigm). Kinematics and EMGs from representative upper-limb muscles were recorded to extract phasic muscle synergies. The free and assisted interaction modes were compared assessing the level of assistance, error, and muscle synergy comparison between the two interaction modes. Results It was found that in free movement error magnitude is higher than with assistance, proving that task complexity required assistance also on healthy controls. Moreover, curvilinear tasks require more assistance than standard radial paths and error is higher. Interestingly, while assistance improved task performance, we found only a slight modification of phasic synergies when comparing assisted and free movement. Conclusions We found that on healthy people, the effect of assistance was significant on task performance, but limited on muscle synergies. The findings of this study can find applications for assessing human-robot interaction and to design training to maximize motor recovery.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1227445
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