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    Date submitted
  • 30-Sep-2017

Shoulder Assist

Abstract

Neuromuscular diseases are diseases which affect the use of the voluntary muscles through a problem with the nerves of the body. People with these diseases, as well as people with other conditions that cause weakness and affect movement such as stroke or spinal cord injury, suffer a loss of independence as they cannot perform basic actions. Physical therapy can help them regain or maintain muscle strength, but progress is slow. Devices that could help patients with common movements, such as walking or moving the arms, are often expensive, motor driven devices that are bulky and heavy. Our goal is to create a solution for people who have lost muscle strength in their shoulders to be able to lift their arms on their own. This would provide the option for independence for people who otherwise would need to rely on others for simple motions such as raising their arms to table level or even drinking water from a cup.

The two components of Shoulder Assist are shoulder stabilization and shoulder abduction (arm raising). A shoulder brace provides stabilization, and an air bladder under the arm can be filled automatically to raise the arm. The air bladder would include pressure sensors to ensure user safety, keeping prolonged pressure under the arm from causing additional nerve problems. At the touch of a button, the user would be able to raise their arm to table level, enabling increased independence through a device that is lightweight, targeted, and financially attainable.

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