Design of a Hand Orthosis for People with Deficiency of the Medial, Radial, and Ulnar Nerves

John A. Morales, William A. Rodriguez, Leonardo A. Bermeo Varon, Diana M. Quiguanas, Edgar F. Arcos, John J. Villarejo Mayor


The reduced mobility in hand is a problem that prevents daily activities such as feeding, bathing, brushing, dressing, grabbing objects, and losing autonomy in everyday situations. The hand disability is mainly due to the deficiency of the ulnar, medial, and radial nerves, which prevents adequate hand movements. In consequence, various assistive technologies are proposed to assist mobility, communication, self-help, and domestic activities. An alternative is the use of active orthosis, which by this proof of concept, the person can perform adequate hand movements. This paper aims to introduce a 3D active orthosis of PLA Plus designed by the Creative Lab in the Universidad Santiago de Cali, which includes an actuator and a low-cost myoelectric signal acquisition system, with two input channels. Finger flexion/extension movements and resting-state were performed. The user’s intention is decoded processing rectified and integrated myoelectric signals. An on-off control algorithm was implemented to generate commands that control orthosis movements. The system is controlled by a person who has a disability due to a C5 and C6 spinal trauma that generated muscular atrophy in the distal level of the hand. Results showed the controlled flexion and extension of the fingers with a good performance. This system assists people with disabilities in the ulnar, medial, and radial nerves to make proper hand movements. The design of the above-mentioned orthosis allows individuals to carry out daily living activities to improve their quality of life.


Electromyography; active orthosis; assistance; decreased mobility; hand orthosis

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