The improvement of movement smoothness over the course of therapy is one of the positive outcomes observed during robotic rehabilitation. Although movements are generally robust to disturbances, certain perturbations might disrupt an individual’s ability to produce these smooth movements. This work explores how a rehabilitation robot’s inherent dynamics impact movement smoothness during pointing tasks. Able-bodied participants made wrist pointing movements under four different operating conditions. Despite the relative transparency of the device, inherent dynamic characteristics negatively impacted movement smoothness. Active compensation for Coulomb friction effects failed to mitigate the degradation in smoothness. Assessment of movements that involved coupled motions of the robot’s joints reduced the bias seen in single degree of freedom movements. When using robotic devices for assessment of movement quality, the impact of the inherent dynamics must be considered.
A. Erwin, E. Pezent, J. Bradley, and M.K. O’Malley. “The effect of robot dynamics on smoothness during wrist pointing.” IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), 2017 (To Be Presented).