A Review of Technology Advances for Assisting Paralyzed People

By on August 1st, 2017 in Health & Medical, Human Impacts, Leading Edge, Magazine Articles, Robotics

Many stroke survivors retain some degree of paralysis and thus have limited use of their body. According to published surveys, the chances of paralysis by stroke is 1 in 25. Such people have limited freedom in terms of movable body parts so they cannot do daily chores without a physical assistance. Thus, an interface that can improve their living condition is necessary.

Several devices were proposed recently such as a device called Rewalk (demonstrated in Dallas) and a leg-rehabilitation device created by Timothy J Becker and Matthew Duplin. Also, an invasive technique in which a stent-based electrode called stentrode is implanted in the blood vessel was proposed. This technique gives patients mobility by just the power of thoughts. However, all these methods have a common drawback in that they require the paralyzed person to wear an exoskeleton which is a cumbersome.

We propose a noninvasive model called the Muscle to Machine Interface for Paralyzed person (MMIP) that does not require an exoskeleton for motion. Muscle electrodes that excite the muscle nerves are used. This system has the provision for preprocessing, classifying, recording, and training multidimensional EMG signals. The controlled person (paralyzed person) is interfaced with the movable part of the controlling person through the MMIP. When the controlling person does some operation, the MMIP generates electrical stimulation and in response to the stimulus the controlled person mimics the operation. A pair of EMG electrodes has to be placed on specific locations. The MMIP records the EMG signals from the controlled person, processes it and classifies it into different operations. The recorded operation is compared with the actual operations. The performance accuracy is determined as the number of correct classifications divided by number of physical operations. The phases are compared and tested for the accuracy. If the result is not satisfactory a bio-feedback is given and the process is repeated till the performance accuracy is achieved.

The system provides an easy to use non-invasive technique to improve the mobility of paralyzed people to help them lead a dignified life.

The block diagram flow is depicted inĀ Figure 1.

Figure 1. Block diagram flow.

Figure 1. Block diagram flow.


Author image of Sunil Jacob
Sunil Jacob is a Professor in the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering at SCMS School of Engineering and Technology, Karukutty, Angamaly, Kerala, India. Email: suniljacob@scmsgroup.org.