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Table 3 Glossary of terms concerning mechanical design of robots for rehabilitation

From: A survey on robotic devices for upper limb rehabilitation

Term Description
End-effector based device Contacts a subject’s limb only at its most distal part. It simplifies the structure of the device. However, it may complicate the control of the limb position in cases with multiple possible degrees of freedom.
Exoskeleton-based device A device with a mechanical structure that mirrors the skeletal structure of the limb, i.e. each segment of the limb associated with a joint movement is attached to the corresponding segment of the device. This design allows independent, concurrent and precise control of movements in a few limb joints. It is, however, more complex than an end-effector based device. Orthoses restricting or assisting movement in one or more joints may be also considered exoskeleton-based devices.
Planar robot A device, usually end-effector based, moving in a specific plane. Design of planar robots, decreases costs as well as the range of movements that may be exercised. Although this device performs movements in a plane, joints of the limb may still move in a three-dimensional space.
Back-drivability A property of mechanical design indicating that the patient is able to move the device, even when the device is in passive state. It increases patient safety, because it does not constrain limb movements and keeps patient’s limb in a comfortable position.
Modularity A property of a device indicating that optional parts may adapt it to a specific condition or simply to perform additional exercises.
Reconfigurability A property of a device indicating that its mechanical structure may be modified without adding additional parts in order to adapt it to the condition of the subject or to perform other form of training.