Glove detection to help stroke recovery


MIT researchers created a sensing glove that can detect small changes in pressure on the surface when a user grabs something. The glove is threaded with small pressure sensors, which are equipped with micropiles that generate changes in the electrical signal when bent and deformed. This provides an incredibly sensitive measure of tactile pressure and the glove even detects the wearer’s pulse. Researchers hope the technology can help recycle motor function in patients who have suffered a stroke and can also lead to portable devices that can measure vital signs more accurately and comfortably than existing devices, such as smart watches.

The technology works thanks to small pressure sensors that are incorporated into the fabric glove. These sensors are embedded with thousands of “micropiles,” which are microscopic gold filaments that deform in response to pressure and provide the corresponding change in an electrical signal that the device can measure. Individual sensors are highly sensitive and, when applied to a user’s fingertip, not only provide a measure of the pressure applied to external objects by grip, but also a measurement of the pulse.

“The simplicity and reliability of our screening structure is a great promise for a variety of healthcare applications, such as pulse detection and sensory recovery in patients with tactile dysfunction,” said Nicholas Fang, a researcher involved in the ‘study, in a press release.

The main application for pressure detection glove is an aid during stroke rehabilitation, which allows a user to fine-tune the strength and grip of the hand and track progress. To date, researchers have characterized glove readings as users perform various daily tasks that require varying degrees of dexterity and grip at different points on the hand, from grabbing a glass to holding a balloon.

“Some fine motor skills require not only knowing how to handle objects, but also how much force must be exerted,” says Fang. “This glove could provide us with more accurate measures of grip strength for control groups compared to patients recovering from stroke or other neurological conditions. That could increase our understanding and allow for control. “

However, the team is also interested in incorporating sensors into other portable equipment, such as flexible patches, that can measure physiological parameters such as pulse and blood pressure more accurately than health-focused portable equipment. “Dust is a mechanical vibration that can also cause skin deformities, which we can’t feel, but the pillars can get caught,” Fang said.

Study a Communications on Nature: Skin-electrode iontronic interface for mechanosensitization


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