Feasibility of the UR5 Industrial Robot for Robotic Rehabilitation of the Upper Limbs After Stroke
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionIEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. Proceedings. 2018, 1-6. 10.1109/IROS.2018.8594413
Robot-assisted therapy is an emerging form of rehabilitation treatment for motor recovery of the upper limbs after neurological injuries such as stroke or spinal cord injury. Robotic rehabilitation devices have the potential to reduce the physical strain put on therapists due to the high-effort one-to-one interactions between the therapist and patient involving repetitive high-intensity movements to restore arm and hand functions. Numerous custom robotic devices have been developed in recent years to aid in physical rehabilitation of stroke patients, but most commercially available systems are high-cost devices because of low production volumes and high development costs. In this paper, we analyse the safety and functionality of the UR5 collaborative industrial robot from Universal Robots equipped with an external force/torque sensor in a real-time control system for typical rehabilitation exercises. The aim of the paper is to show that a new class of general-purpose industrial robots designed for human-robot collaboration may prove a viable alternative to custom designs. Experiments show that robotic rehabilitation of the upper limbs using a standard industrial robot manipulator UR5 may be feasible. Results have the potential to make robotic rehabilitation more available as a high-quality therapeutic treatment for more patients.