You are here: REHACARE Portal. REHACARE Magazine. Archive. Prosthesis.
Artificial Muscle Glove To Aid People with Paralyzed Hands
Associate Professor Geoff Spinks
and PhD student Binbin XI work
on the rehabilitation glove at
the Intelligent Polymer Research
Institute at the University
© University of Wollongong
The glove has wearable artificial muscles integrated into it and provides a patient with assistance to make movements. The University's Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) have created fibres that will be integrated into the glove allowing it to move similar to contracting muscles.
The Research Director of the RNSH's Quadriplegic Hand Research Unit, Dr Tim Scott applied IPRI's recent developments in muscle-like fibres into a device that would fit the hand like a glove and support rehabilitation following hand surgery, hand trauma hand paralysis and other problems affecting the hand.
IPRI Director, Professor Gordon Wallace, said the research team was only several months away from establishing advanced prototypes for the glove. Associate Professor Geoff Spinks and Dr Dezhi Zhou from IPRI have played a key role in developing the in-built fibres.
He said Royal North Shore Hospital contacted IPRI after hearing of its ground-breaking research into artificial muscles. Patients today only have access to cumbersome mechanical devices to help in their rehabilitation.
"We have a patented glove now that is much easier to use and, of course, unlike the current machinery, is portable," Professor Wallace said.
Professor Wallace said future applications could extend beyond gloves to developing materials for use on other areas of controlled movement such as a person's legs.
"Although it is early days for the application of these smart materials in the medical field, the potential for their use in the improvement of health care in the future is extremely promising," said Dr Scott.
- Further Information: University of Wollongong