Exploiting wearable goniometer technology for motion sensing gloves
Carbonaro, N., Dalle Mura, G., Lorussi, F., Paradiso, R., De Rossi, D., Tognetti, A.
Continuous daily-life monitoring of patient functional activities in terms of physical interaction with the environment is fundamental for rehabilitation therapy optimization and patient coaching. To date, it is not possible to achieve such information due to the obtrusive nature of the current monitoring systems. Focusing on hand function and its recovery, this paper presents an innovative wearable kinesthetic glove realized with knitted piezoresistive fabric (KPF) sensor technology. The glove is conceived to capture hand movement and gesture by using KPF in a double layer configuration working as angular sensors (goniometers). The sensing glove prototype is endowed by three KPF goniometers, used to track flexion and extension movements of metacarpo-phalangeal joint of thumb, index and middle fingers. The prototype performance has been compared with an optical tracking system considered as a gold standard for relieving both static and dynamic postures of the hand. The introduced prototype has shown very promising performances without loosing a good level of comfort for the user. The angular error, evaluated through the standard Bland Altman analysis, has been estimated in ± 3 degrees, which is slightly less accurate than commercial electro-goniometers. Moreover, a new conceptual prototype design, preliminary evaluated within this work, is presented and discussed in order to solve actual limitations in terms of number and type of sensor connections, avoiding mechanical constraints given by metallic inextensible wires and improving user comfort.