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Table 6 Description of user intent detection modalities with relative advantages and disadvantages

From: Soft robotic devices for hand rehabilitation and assistance: a narrative review

Feedback Modality Description Advantages Disadvantages
Bend Sensors – Digits Sensors are placed on all finger joints and a joint pattern analysis can detect a user’s specific intended hand motion Is able to differentiate specific hand motions and does not require electrode placement by the patient Cannot be used in patients with complete hand paralysis
Pressure Sensors - Digits
Bend Sensors – Wrist A bend sensor is placed on the wrist as wrist motion is likely still a familiar motion in patients with hand impairment Simple to implement and can reliably detect wrist motion. Does not require electrode placement by the patient May not be able to distinguish specific hand motions and requires wrist motion to be intact
EEG An EEG pattern analysis was obtained on healthy patients in order to be able to identify similar patterns in patients with hand paralysis Can be implemented in a patient with complete paralysis because acquires signal for intent at the beginning of motor pathway Requires many electrodes to be placed on the head and may be the least reliable means of detection of user intent of those presented
sEMG Electrodes are placed on major muscles of the forearm to detect myoelectric activity in order to gauge user intent Reliably detects forearm activity and is able to differentiate some specific hand motions Requires some residual level of muscle activity
Voice activated Voice commands can operate the device Unambiguously controls the device Not a part of neuromuscular pathway so effects on neuroplasticity are less clear