Hand Therapy Exercise Device

Patients that undergo hand surgeries requiring tendon repair often face difficulties regaining normal hand function. Among the potential problems encountered is decreased mobility, brought on by tendon adhesions, swelling, and tendon/ligament contractures. These are common undesirable effects of postoperative immobilization that reduce hand functionality and occasionally require secondary surgeries.

Fig. 1. Types of Therapy Exercises

Tendon gliding exercises that break up unwanted scar tissue are standard practice during postoperative hand rehabilitation, and have improved patient prognosis. A typical set of exercises is shown in Fig. 1, used by therapists to move the patient’s finger through six distinct positions, each targeting a different set of tendons

Fig. 2. Hand Exoskeleton

This project seeks to develop a cable-driven hand exoskeleton that is capable of mimicking tendon gliding biomechanics and automating all six therapy exercises (Fig. 2). The exoskeleton also adopts a simplified actuation mechanism that reduces the number of active components by using passive return elements.