Robot-assisted task-oriented upper extremity skill training in cervical spinal cord injury: a feasibility study

D.A.M.M. Vanmulken*, A.I.F. Spooren, H.M.H. Bongers, H.A.M. Seelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Study design:Prospective multiple case study.Objectives:To test (1) the feasibility of haptic robot technology (Haptic Master (HM)) use to improve arm-hand function (AHF) and arm-hand skill performance (AHSP) in persons with a cervical spinal cord injury (C-SCI), (2) inventory participants' motivation and expectation to work with the robot technology used and (3) to descriptively report the results in individual cases.Setting:Rehabilitation Centre.Methods:Five C-SCI patients were trained for 6 weeks, 3 days per week, 60 min per day. Therapists filled out the Usefulness, Satisfaction and Ease-of-use questionnaire (USE). The Intrinsic Motivational Inventory (IMI) and credibility and expectancy questionnaire (CEQ) were filled out by participants. Performance at activity level was gauged using the Van Lieshout test for AHF in Tetraplegia and the Spinal Cord Independence Measure. Function level was gauged using muscle strength testing and the International Classification for Surgery of the Hand in Tetraplegia.Results:As to the feasibility of the application of haptic robot technology, the mean USE score was 65%. Mean IMI and CEQ results were 67% and 60%, respectively. Participants were motivated to train with the HM. All participants rated credibility higher than expectations regarding the improvement. In the current patients, little progress was demonstrated at the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health function and the activity level.Conclusion:It is feasible to train C-SCI persons with the HM. Therapists report that working with the HM is easy to learn and easy to perform. Usability of the HM may be improved. Further research is needed to assess in which group of C-SCI and at which stage of rehabilitation HM training may be most beneficial.Spinal Cord advance online publication, 3 February 2015; doi:10.1038/sc.2014.250.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-551
Number of pages5
JournalSpinal Cord
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015



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