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Treating Musclar Spasticity through an Orthotic Arm Smart Splint

Regina Leyva Roman - Biomedical Engineering Student, SJSU;
Ike Aniemeka - Biomedical Engineering Student, SJSU;
Raphael Ramos - Biomedical Engineering Student, SJSU;
Grace Merchant - Biomedical Engineering Student, SJSU;
Tanguy Cossoul - Biomedical Engineering Student, SJSU

Dr. Lin Jiang

Technical Advisor:

Muscular spasticity is a neuromuscular condition where muscles are chronically contracted, leading to problems such as shortened muscles, nonfunctional limbs, and often irreversible damage barring multiple surgeries. Patients with this condition find difficulty performing routine actions independently, leading to unpleasant and taxing experiences both physically and psychologically. While this field has been heavily researched, there is a gap between the current solutions for neuromuscular conditions like muscular spasticity and muscular dystrophy. Current interventions focus on preventing muscle regression but lack comprehensive, adaptable solutions addressing the individual’s long term range of motion. The aim of this research is to create an articulating arm splint that utilizes EMG sensors to detect the activation of flexor muscles in the forearm, this sends out a signal to the servos in the splint activating assisted wrist flexion stretching the muscle accordingly to maintain flexibility and strengthen the muscle.

Smart Splint adapts by utilizing sensors in conjunction with servos to help users stay in their ideal range of wrist flexion, ranging from 0 to 90 degrees in motion. Sensors will activate over a 24-hour period to discern when the arm, wrist, and fingers are in a relaxed state. This enables the device to adjust its angle and assist users in comfortably stretching their wrists. Furthermore, this device has inherent research potential based on results that could indicate improvement in the condition of those with muscular spasticity. Specifically with the intention to eventually expand upon the current device design with features that would help regain hand and finger coordination for more user independence.

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