Resonating Arm Exerciser

With the development of more advanced robots for rehabilitation, the benefits of "patient active" assisted therapy have become more obvious. The key quality of "patient active" assistance is that the patient must initiate the movement in order to be assisted in therapy. This prevents the patient from slacking in therapy, since a reduction in effort will lead to a reduction in assistance. Unfortunately, while "patient active" assistance is easily achieved through robotic therapy, robots are very expensive and require extensive resources that make their use limited, especially in developing countries. Therefore, we developed the Resonating Arm Exerciser (RAE), inspired in part by a study that found improved long-term recovery of arm mobility after stroke in patients who rocked themselves in a rocking chair with their affected limb (see Feys et al. 2004). RAE attempts to emulate the "patient active" assisted therapy achieved with robotic therapy by employing the principles of resonance to amplify a patient's arm movements. RAE can attach to any standard wheelchair, reversibly converting it into an exercise device. Many stroke patients are confined to wheelchairs, and several low-cost wheelchairs are already available in developing countries, so this design allows wheelchair users to dual-purpose their chair and participate in effective therapy without requiring a transfer.