Robotics

Upper-body exoskeleton designed to treat stroke victims

Upper-body exoskeleton designe...
The Harmony SHR replicates the body's natural range of movement
The Harmony SHR replicates the body's natural range of movement
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The Harmony SHR in use
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The Harmony SHR in use
The Harmony SHR replicates the body's natural range of movement
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The Harmony SHR replicates the body's natural range of movement

When stroke patients are recovering from upper-body paralysis, therapists often guide their arms through the lost motions, helping their nervous system to "relearn" the actions. The task can be a demanding one, though, which is where the Harmony SHR setup comes in.

Developed by Austin, Texas-based Harmony Bionics, SHR is essentially an upper-body robotic exoskeleton that is used in a seated position. Its two articulated arms are gently cuffed to the patient's upper and lower arms, supporting their weight while repeatedly moving them through pre-programmed patient-specific exercises designed to replicate everyday tasks.

While a therapist would ordinarily do this job manually, doing so can potentially get physically tiring when working with a series of patients all day long. The idea is that with Harmony SHR, therapists could have each patient doing a greater number of repetitions per session.

The Harmony SHR in use
The Harmony SHR in use

The system can also be used in Bilateral Sync Therapy mode, in which the robotic arm that's holding the patient's paralyzed arm simply mirrors the movements that they're making with their "good" arm (which is attached to – and guiding – the other robotic arm).

Additionally, the exoskeleton can be set to compensate for injuries such as shoulder dislocations, plus it replicates the shoulder's natural range of movement, so it shouldn't cause any injuries.

You can see Harmony SHR in use, in the following video.

Source: Harmony Bionics via IEEE Spectrum

Introducing Harmony SHR–the latest in upper-extremity robotic rehabilitation

2 comments
Techrex
I AM IRON MAN!!!
ljaques
That looks pretty inclusive. I could swear I saw her sniff her armpit. They've thought of everything! // I hope these do some real good in helping many people synchronize their mind and body after massive loss. I AM #5!