Italian engineers have developed a robotic glove that would give a helping hand to patients who are struggling to move their fingers after an accident or a stroke.
The Gloreha glove, created over three years by the Italian company Idrogenet, can be used on either hand during rehabilitation exercises and takes about three minute to fit.
It is powered by a series of pneumatic cylinders running along the back of the hand and each digit.
This allows gentle pressure to be put on the hand to guide it during exercises and it also help the patients move their hand independently to recreate gestures such as pointing and grasping.
Electronic sensors in the glove are linked to computer software that runs through a series of 3D animated hand movements. The patient then follows the virtual hand through various assisted exercises.
“This is different from a ‘robot’ simply moving a patient’s fingers. A patient can follow the movement of his hand in real-time and try to replicate the movement,” the Daily Mail quoted Carlo Seneci, president of developers Idrogenet, as saying.
“This is a key factor for patients affected by strokes or spinal injuries. They almost need to rehabilitate the brain more than they do the hand,” Seneci added.
The software logs both the length of each session and achievements made. It then uses this information to create the next therapy session.
The executive said the glove is weeks away from getting a CE marking, which means it has passed all the necessary safety assessments to go on sale in Europe.