Abstract: The rehabilitative treatment of post-stroke patients represents a constantly expanding research field. The main goal of the research activities is to improve the intensity and effectiveness of traditional protocols for post-stroke patients, by employing robot technology and multisensory stimulation. As to the robot technology employed in the
treatment of the upper limb, two main approaches can be found in the literature. The first one is based on exoskeletal kinematic structures, whereas the second one achieves the mobilization of the arm/hand by controlling the movements of an end-effector to which the former is linked.
This paper presents the approaches and the prototypes developed in the Rehabilitation Robotics Lab of the Dept. of Innovation in Mechanics and Management (DIMEG), University of Padua. Essentially, our approach consists in employing cable-based robotic devices for the treatment of the upper limbs in acute and sub-acute subjects. Two prototypes have been developed so far - the NeReBot and the MariBot - the former of which undergone a randomized controlled trial with sub-acute patients, showing positive results. In addition, a new cable-based robot, called the Sophia-4, is being developed to extend the robot-assisted rehabilitation treatment to chronic patients. This device is able to carry out the mobilization of the upper limb over a planar workspace. An adaptive controller manages the human-machine interaction, with the aim to obtain a compliant behavior of the robot, capable of providing a customized level of assistance based on patient’s recovery.