CSTARWestern Engineering

Haptics in Neuroscience

Abnormality of sensorimotor integration in the basal ganglia and cortex has been reported in the literature for several neurological issues. In this project, we investigated the effect of manipulation of different sensory modalities particularly haptics as a tool which can perturb sensorimotor integration of patients. The goal is to (a) better understand the nature of the disease, (b) quantitatively assessing the severity of the condition, (c) developing potential sensory manipulation technologies which can assist patient in performing tasks. In this regard, this concept was applied for analyzing the sensorimotor integration loop in Focal Hand Dystonia (FHD) patients. Through a patient-based study, we have shown that reducing the writing surface rigidity (with the use of a specific robotics-assisted writing tool) significantly decreases the severity of dystonia and results in better control of grip pressure. It was also shown that the proposed haptic manipulation strategy can augment the effectiveness of botulinum injection therapy (the standard clinical treatment for patients living with dystonia). The outcome of this study was then used in the design of an actuated pen as a writing-assistance tool for FHD patients. Details can be found in the following citation.

Haptics in Neuroscience Publications