Jacky Au

Section 1

Andria Farrens

Andria Farrens, PhD

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Mentor: Dr. David Reinkensmeyer, PhD



Proposed Research: Determining the effect of proprioceptive training, and virtual or physical assistance on robotic hand movement therapy for post-stroke individuals using computer based games

Over half of stroke survivors experience chronic impairment of their hand that limits their function and participation in daily life. Previously, repetitive practice of finger movements in a robotic device while playing a musical computer game was shown to reduce hand impairment. Individuals with impaired finger proprioception (assessed behaviorally and via brain imaging) benefited less from repetitive hand training compared with individuals with intact sensation. To enhance therapy for these individuals, we have developed modified robotic training paradigms that focus on thumb and finger position sense to make gameplay decisions, to train proprioception in conjunction with repetitive movement training. Moreover, we have developed a virtual assistance paradigm to determine if benefits from training-- previously performed with physical assistance--were due to guided physical motor practice, or the resulting reward based on game-play success. In this work, we will recruit 60 participants to perform either movement practice with physical assistance, movement practice with virtual assistance, and movement practice with physical assistance and integrated somatosensory training. Clinical motor and sensory function will be evaluated by a physical therapist (Vicky Chan) pre and post-training, and somatosensory function will be evaluated by robotic finger proprioception assessments and EEG sensorimotor tasks performed by myself and a team of engineers, under the supervision of Dr. David Reinkensmeyer and Dr. An Do. The long-term goal of this work is to optimize robot-assisted rehabilitation exercise by identifying key behavioral and neural mechanisms that determine the efficacy of robotic hand movement training in chronic stroke survivors.