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A brain-robot interface for studying motor learning after stroke

Timm Meyer; Jan Peters; Doris Brtz; Thorsten O. Zander; Bernhard Schölkopf; Surjo R. Soekadar; Moritz Grosse-Wentrup
In: 2012 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS-2012), October 7-12, Portugal, Pages 4078-4083, IEEE, 2012.


Despite intensive efforts, no significant benefit of rehabilitation robotics in post-stroke motor-recovery has yet been demonstrated in large-scale clinical trials. The present work is based on the premise that future advances in rehabilitation robotics require an enhanced understanding of the neural processes involved in motor learning after stroke. We present a system that combines a Barret WAM™seven degree-of-freedom robot arm with neurophysiological recordings for the purpose of studying post-stroke motor learning. We used this system to conduct a pilot study on motor learning during reaching movements with two stroke patients. Preliminary results indicate that pre-trial brain activity in ipsilesional sensorimotor areas may be a neural correlate of the current state of motor learning. These results are discussed in terms of their relevance for future rehabilitation strategies that combine rehabilitation robotics with real-time analyses of neuro-physiological recordings.

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