Project 4

Co-adaptive trunk and head support

Dr. I.J.M. de Groot4, MD
Prof. dr. ir. G.J. Verkerke3,1, PhD
Arjen Bergsma3,4, MSc.
Mohammad Nauzef Mahmood1,2, MSc.
Stergios Verros3, MSc.
Laura Peeters4 , MSc.

1. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
2. VU University Medical Center
3. University of Twente
4. Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen

Brief Summary:
In Symbionics 2.1 we aim to design an exoskeleton device for stabilizing the trunk and head while allowing the user to choose different postures and also remain stable during the arms movement. People with a flaccid or spastic paresis (like Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy or cerebral palsy) suffer from muscle weakness, which results in activity limitations. This muscle weakness has a progressive nature in some diseases, and leads to instability of the trunk and head. Another side effect of the muscle weakness is scoliosis which affects the trunk posture negatively even more. Coordination between arm, trunk and head movements is very important in performing activities of daily life (ADL). Arm supports help the users to move their arm with ease, but they cannot function optimally because the integration of the trunk and head is lacking. The functionality of the arm supports becomes limited by trunk instability. Instability of the head disturbs visual and balance control during activities and therefore influences the arm movements as well. Developing an adaptive, supporting device for the trunk and head, which can be used in combination with an arm support, would improve the quality of life for the user.