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Feedback Enhances Brainwave Control of a Novel Hand-Exoskeleton


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The hand exoskeleton.

A portable hand exoskeleton under development at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne could restore functional grasps to the physically impaired.

Credit: Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne Switzerland, are developing a portable hand exoskeleton controlled by brainwaves to enhance brain-machine interfaces and possibly restore functional grasps to the physically impaired.

The team says metal cables act as soft tendons along the backside of each finger of the hand exoskeleton, leaving the palm free to maximize sensations felt by the hand. A chest-pack contains motors that can push and pull on the different cables, flexing or extending the fingers.

The researchers note the exoskeleton is adaptable by design, so the control interface can be customized to each patient's physical ability.

There are several control interface options, including eye-movement monitoring, smartphone-based voice interfaces, and a headset that reads brainwave activity.

During testing, the researchers found that exoskeleton-induced hand motions combined with a user-driven brain-machine interface led to strange brain patterns that could actually facilitate control of the device.

From Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne
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