Inspired by previous work done in Dr. Trejos' Wearable Mechatronics Laboratory at Western University, we teamed up to design a wearable and wireless mechatronic brace that assists patients in performing rehabilitation exercises of the upper limb by interpreting the patient’s intention and physically assisting with the desired movement. Our goal was to create a framework that could be used in Dr. Trejos' lab to drive rapid iteration on new biosignal interpretation and control systems developed by graduate students.

What it does

The system interprets real-time EEG and EMG data collected from the user to determine if they are trying to move their arm. If the user is attempting to move their arm, the brace will actuate to assist them in performing the movement. The novel aspect of the design is its fully wearable and wireless design, which provides full mobility during use.

How we built it

We used a modular approach to develop and iterate on the design. The design was divided into data acquisition, signal processing, and interpretation, brace actuation, and power systems. An OpenBCI Ganglion board was used to collect EMG and EEG signals which were communicated to a Raspberry Pi via a custom wifi module. Signal processing and interpretation were implemented on the Raspberry Pi using Python. When desired movement was detected, a C++ actuation script was run to control the motors on the brace. The system was powered via custom electrical circuits built into the waist belt assembly.

Challenges we ran into

Electromagnetic interference from the motor created significant noise in the biosignals readings.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We were able to construct a fully wearable & wireless prototype that collected and processed biosignals in real-time to accurately actuate a motor.

What's next for Mechatronic Brace for Upper Arm Rehabilitation

Graduate students in Dr. Trejos' Laboratory for Wearable Mechatronics at Western University will continue to work on the project to accelerate the development of a market-ready product.

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