Investigation of goal change to optimize upper-extremity motor performance in a robotic environment

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

Robotic devices for therapy have the potential to enable intensive, fully customized home rehabilitation over extended periods for individuals with stroke and traumatic brain injury, thus empowering them to maximize their functional recovery. For robotic rehabilitation to be most effective, systems must have the capacity to assign performance goals to the user and to increment those goals to encourage performance improvement. Otherwise, individuals may plateau at an artificially low level of function. Frequent goal change is needed to motivate improvements in performance by individuals with brain injury; but because of entrenched habits, these individuals may avoid striving for goals that they perceive as becoming ever more difficult. For this reason, implicit, undetectable goal change (distortion) may be more effective than explicit goal change at optimizing the motor performance of some individuals with brain injury. This paper reviews a body of work that provides a basis for incorporating implicit goal change into a robotic rehabilitation paradigm. This work was conducted with individuals without disability to provide foundational knowledge for using goal change in a robotic environment. In addition, we compare motor performance with goal change to performance with no goal or with a static goal for individuals without brain injury. Our results show that goal change can improve motor performance when participants attend to visual feedback. Building on these preliminary results can lead to more effective robotic paradigms for the rehabilitation of individuals with brain injury, including individuals with cerebral palsy.




Published In

Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 51, 5, 146-153.