A Gesture-Controlled Rehabilitation Robot to Improve Engagement and Quantify Movement Performance

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Army Cyber Institute

Publication Date


Publication Title

Sensors 2020 (MDPI)

Document Type



Rehabilitation requires repetitive and coordinated movements for effective treatment, which are contingent on patient compliance and motivation. However, the monotony, intensity, and expense of most therapy routines do not promote engagement. Gesture-controlled rehabilitation has the potential to quantify performance and provide engaging, cost-effective treatment, leading to better compliance and mobility. We present the design and testing of a gesture-controlled rehabilitation robot (GC-Rebot) to assess its potential for monitoring user performance and providing entertainment while conducting physical therapy. Healthy participants (n = 11) completed a maze with GC-Rebot for six trials. User performance was evaluated through quantitative metrics of movement quality and quantity, and participants rated the system usability with a validated survey. For participants with self-reported video-game experience (n = 10), wrist active range of motion across trials (mean ± standard deviation) was 41.6 ± 13° and 76.8 ± 16° for pitch and roll, respectively. In the course of conducting a single trial with a time duration of 68.3 ± 19 s, these participants performed 27 ± 8 full wrist motion repetitions (i.e., flexion/extension), with a dose-rate of 24.2 ± 5 reps/min. These participants also rated system usability as excellent (score: 86.3 ± 12). Gesture-controlled therapy using the GC-Rebot demonstrated the potential to be an evidence-based rehabilitation tool based on excellent user ratings and the ability to monitor at-home compliance and performance.

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