Robotic Assessment of Proprioception
The research is conducted in collaboration with four different institutes using the same technology the WristBot (Click here) :
2012 WristBot 1.0 installation
@ University of Minnesota
2015 WristBot 2.0 installation
@ NTU Singapore
It has long been recognized that impaired proprioception may severely affect the control of balance and voluntary movements. However, clinical assessment of the impact of proprioceptive deficits on motor functions has been difficult to elucidate for two reasons – the qualitative nature of available clinical tests and the lack of instrumentation to accurately manipulate human limbs and consequently to obtain accurate and reliable measures of proprioceptive acuity. The recent advent of haptic robotic interfaces designed for sensorimotor rehabilitation in hospitals has improved the ability to accurately manipulate joint movements. Such technology offers a tool to quantitatively evaluate proprioceptive function.
A new method based on the use of a three-degrees-of-freedom robotic device to deliver accurate wrist kinematics and to assess wrist joint proprioceptive acuity is proposed. Research protocol consists of psychophysical threshold hunting method to determine acuity for two different degrees of freedom by means of a robotic manipulandum. Two different stimuli are presented in each trial: a stimulus of fixed value (standard stimulus) and the other with variable amplitude across trials (comparison stimulus) and always higher than the standard. After each trial, the participant verbally indicates which stimulus is “larger” (i.e. which of the two movements has a larger displacement).
Left: The Wrist robot, a three-DoF manipulandum used for the experiments. Center: Experimental setup. Subjects grasped the handle of the wrist robot while auditory cues were masked by pink noise from headphones and vision was occluded through opaque goggles. Right: Stimuli presented. During each trial, a standard (15°) and a comparison displacement (variable but >15°) were presented in random order.
Based on the subject’s response, a comparison stimulus is selected for the subsequent trial. Acuity is defined as the stimuli amplitude difference such that the subjects identify the comparison as larger with a frequency of 75%. Results obtained highlight the efficacy and intrinsic simplicity of the proposed method marking the milestone for further investigations and characterization of proprioceptive acuity in pathologies and age-related degradation of sensory-motor functions.
Example of a psychometric function of subject 1. Circles represent binned responses recorded during the experimental procedure; vertical line depicts the mean (acuity threshold) of the Cumulative Gaussian. The plot presents a threshold of 0.39 in logarithmic scale – corresponding to 2.46° in linear scale.
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Contu S, Hussain A, Kager S, Budhota A, Deshmukh VA, Kuah CWK, Yam LHL, Xiang L, Chua KSG, Masia L, Campolo D. "Proprioceptive assessment in clinical settings: evaluation of joint position sense in upper limb post-stroke using a robotic manipulator". PLoSONE November 21, 2017
Marini F, Squeri V, Morasso P, Campus C, Konczak J, Masia L. "Robot-aided developmental assessment of wrist proprioception in children". Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 201714:3.
Cuppone A, Squeri M, Semprini M, Masia L and Konczak J. "Robot-assisted proprioceptive training with added vibro-tactile feedback enhances somatosensory and motor performance" PLoS ONE October 11, 2016.
Marini F, Squeri V, Morasso PG, Konczak J and Masia L. (2016). "Robot-Aided Mapping of Wrist proprioceptive acuity across a 3D workspace". accepted for publication on PLoSONE.
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Contu S, Basteris A, Plunkett TK, Kuah CWK, Chua KSG, Campolo D, Masia L. " Wrist Proprioception in Acute and Subacute Stroke: A Robotic Protocol for Highly Impaired Patients". IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics BIOROB 2018, 26-29 August 2018, Enschede, The Netherlands.
Marini F, Hughes C, Morasso PG, Masia L. 'The effects of age and amplitude on wrist proprioceptive acuity' IEEE International Conference on Robotic Rehabilitation 2017, July 17-20, London, UK.
Marini F, Contu S, Morasso PG, Masia L, Zenzeri J. 'Codification mechanisms of wrist position sense' IEEE International Conference on Robotic Rehabilitation 2017, July 17-20, London, UK.
Contu S, Marini F, Masia L. 'Robotic assessment of the contribution of motor commands to wrist position sense' IEEE International Conference on Robotic Rehabilitation 2017, July 17-20, London, UK.
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Francesca Marini, Valentina Squeri, Assunta Riva, Leonardo Cappello, Luca Doglio, Pietro Giovanni Morasso, Lorenzo Masia "Adaptive Wrist Robot Training in Pediatric Rehabilitation". IEEE International Conference on Robotic Rehabilitation 2015, 11-14 August 2015, Singapore