Development of an Exoskeleton to Support Eating Movements in Patients with Essential Tremor
Yuya Matsumoto*1, Masatoshi Seki*1,*2, Takeshi Ando*1,*3,
Yo Kobayashi*1, Yasutaka Nakashima*1, Hiroshi Iijima*4,
Masanori Nagaoka*5, and Masakatsu G. Fujie*1
*1Waseda University, 3-4-1 Okubo, Shinjuku, Tokyo 169-8555, Japan
*2MONOZUKURI Mechatronics Laboratory, KIKUCHI SEISAKUSHO Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan
*3Robotics Development Center, Corporate Manufacturing Innovation Division, Panasonic Corporation, Osaka, Japan
*4Rehabilitation Engineering Department, Yokohama Rehabilitation Center, Kanagawa, Japan
*5Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Graduate School, Juntendo University, Tokyo, Japan
Essential tremor is a disorder that causes involuntary oscillations in patients both while they are engaged in actions and when maintaining a posture. Such patients face serious difficulties in performing such daily living activities as eating, drinking, and writing. We have been developing an electromyogram-controlled exoskeleton to suppress tremors and support the eating movements of these patients. This exoskeleton is designed to suppress tremors and support voluntary movement at the elbow in terms of flexion and extension: movement of the elbow is essential in eating movements. In this study, we examined the effectiveness of our prototype exoskeleton at suppressing tremors. Our goal was to answer two questions: To what extent are the oscillations suppressed when wearing the exoskeleton? Is the exoskeleton able to suppress the oscillations sufficiently to allow eating movements? We were able to confirm experimentally that our exoskeleton can effectively suppress tremors to support eating movements.
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