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BCI controlled robotic arm as assistance to the rehabilitation of neurologically disabled patients.

Authors
  • Casey, Anthony1
  • Azhar, Hannan2
  • Grzes, Marek1
  • Sakel, Mohamed3
  • 1 Department of Computing, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.
  • 2 School of Engineering, Technology and Design, Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, UK.
  • 3 East Kent Hospitals University, NHS Foundation Trust, Canterbury, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Disability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2021
Volume
16
Issue
5
Pages
525–537
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2019.1683239
PMID: 31711336
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Brain-computer interface (BCI)-controlled assistive robotic systems have been developed with increasing success with the aim to rehabilitation of patients after brain injury to increase independence and quality of life. While such systems may use surgically implanted invasive sensors, non-invasive alternatives can be better suited due to the ease of use, reduced cost, improvements in accuracy and reliability with the advancement of the technology and practicality of use. The consumer-grade BCI devices are often capable of integrating multiple types of signals, including Electroencephalogram (EEG) and Electromyogram (EMG) signals. This paper summarizes the development of a portable and cost-efficient BCI-controlled assistive technology using a non-invasive BCI headset "OpenBCI" and an open source robotic arm, U-Arm, to accomplish tasks related to rehabilitation, such as access to resources, adaptability or home use. The resulting system used a combination of EEG and EMG sensor readings to control the arm. To avoid risks of injury while the device is being used in clinical settings, appropriate measures were incorporated into the software control of the arm. A short survey was used following the system usability scale (SUS), to measure the usability of the technology to be trialed in clinical settings. From the experimental results, it was found that EMG is a very reliable method for assistive technology control, provided that the user specific EMG calibration is done. With the EEG, even though the results were promising, due to insufficient detection of the signal, the controller was not adequate to be used within a neurorehabilitation environment. The survey indicated that the usability of the system is not a barrier for moving the system into clinical trials.Implication on rehabilitationFor the rehabilitation of patients suffering from neurological disabilities (particularly those suffering from varying degrees of paralysis), it is necessary to develop technology that bypasses the limitations of their condition. For example, if a patient is unable to walk due to the unresponsiveness in their motor neurons, technology can be developed that used an alternate input to move an exoskeleton, which enables the patient to walk again with the assistance of the exoskeleton.This research focuses on neuro-rehabilitation within the framework of the NHS at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital in UK. The hospital currently does not have any system in place for self-driven rehabilitation and instead relies on traditional rehabilitation methods through assistance from physicians and exercise regimens to maintain muscle movement.This paper summarises the development of a portable and cost-efficient BCI controlled assistive technology using a non-invasive BCI headset "OpenBCI" and an open source robotic arm, U-Arm, to accomplish tasks related to rehabilitation, such as access to resources, adaptability or home use. The resulting system used a combination of EEG and EMG sensor readings to control the arm, which could perform a number of different tasks such as picking/placing objects or assist users in eating.

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