Industrial Engineering

3D printed hand is an early concept of an affordable prosthetic for patients

3D PRINTED EXOSKELETON TO HELP STROKE VICTIMS

Dr. Yueqing Li, Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering, and his team of researchers are conducting research exploring various physiological signals (e.g., EEG, EMG, ECG, EOG, oxygen consumption, respiration, heartbeat, body temperature, etc.) to design ergonomic interventions for reducing MSD and fatigue, enhance rehabilitation and improve task-performance during work.

3d printed hand interfacing with computerWith many underlying projects, Dr. Li is kept busy in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Lab, which looks like a cross between a gym and laboratory. One of Dr. Li’s research projects is to develop a robotic exoskeleton for rehabilitation for stroke patients and individuals with neurological diseases. Millions of people around the world suffer from loss of motor skills due to the neurological diseases. In United States, neurological disease is the leading cause of motor disability. Additionally, more than 750,000 people in United States and 15 million people around the world suffer from a stroke each year with approximately two-thirds survive to require rehabilitation. “Many patients have the potential to recover motor control, but missed opportunities occur due to ineffective rehabilitation strategy or the equipment is too expensive for the patient,” says Li. “Our robotics exoskeleton can increase independence during therapy, reduce the work of caregivers and can potentially be a much more affordable option for patients.”

Li’s research integrates robotics, brain-computer interface (BCI), EEG, EMG and other physiological signals by using 3D printing technology. The research group is developing the first low-cost system for patient therapy both in the clinic and at home. The group also plans to develop an adaptive control algorithm to enhance rehabilitation. In a collaboration between Lamar University, Texas A&M University and Tarleton State University, Li’s research group hopes to advance the future of rehabilitation. “The advances we are making will greatly increase the independence of those with motor disabilities and gives patients a control mechanism when a normal pathway of communication or control does not work.”

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