Stroke, the leading cause of disability, is increasingly drawing attention among Hong Kong’s aging population. The inability to open the hand to perform any grasping activity is a severe limitation for many stroke survivors. Rehabilitation is essential in enhancing patients’ quality of life and their prospect in re-integration into society. Traditional metal exoskeleton robots used in training are however limited in number because they are expensive, single-sized and heavy. In addition these robots can only be used for stationary training. Patients have to make the trouble to travel to hospitals and spend long waiting hours in order to have their hands fixed in a specific position for rehabilitation training.
The team is offering a training programme using multi-functional soft robotic hands. Light, compact and water-proof, these 3D-printed hands are fully customisable for patients of any hand size or deformity. Readily available at an affordable cost, more local medical centres and even lower-income families may own one for in-house and at-home training after being discharged from hospitals. Equipped with the team’s patented Soft-Elastic Composite Actuator (SECA), patients may perform more hand functions crucial in their daily lives, such as gripping a pen and wringing a towel.
The invention greatly reduces rehabilitation costs for patients and is a much more convenient option. Over half of the participants showed significant hand function improvement – they achieved more tasks after completing all training sessions, such as thumb adduction and abduction.
– 20 persons with disabled hands
Famous for his Hand of Hope, Raymond is a star researcher and winner of countless international awards, including the Grand Prize at the International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva. Aside from rehabilitation robotics, his research interests include motion-based rehabilitation software and functional electrical stimulation systems. Raymond received his PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Strathclyde.