New Power to Weak Hands

Starting with an international joint research project at the Technical University of Denmark a method for restoring hand function has been developed through continuous research and development efforts resulting in a novel assistive technology – a non-invasive neuroprosthesis.
NewPowerAsah.jpg “We are developing a system to be used by spinal cord injury patients with paresis of the wrist extension. The system uses EMG (Electro Myography) signals from the paretic muscle to control electrical stimulation of the same muscle. In this way it is possible to obtain a functional key grip, so that the individual can hold an object in his or her otherwise paralysed hands” as explained by chief physician at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark back in 1994. (Abstract from an article in Telematics for the Future, financially supported by the European Commision)

The idea of Proportionally Controlled Functional Electrical Stimulation of Hand was published as early as 1973 by Rebersek et. al.. One of the principal problems in those days was that signal processing had to be done in the analogue domain. In 1997 we started take advantage of advanced digital signal processing to realize truly portable devices and the first proof of concept was demonstrated in this PhD dissertation by Thorsen

Since then electronic circuits have been improved and published clinical trials have consolidated the rationale. Not only people with spinal cord injury, but also stroke survivors have demonstrated to obtain clinically relevant benefits from the method. NewPowerGrip.jpg