2022/06/09

A Doctor of Medicine Explains Rehabilitation and Digital Technology (Part 3)

The First Part: MELTIN's Robotic Neurorehabilitation for the Fingers

Wellness and Exercise therapy, Medical devices, AI (Machine Learning, Deep Learning)

Innovations in Rehabilitation Brought by Cyborg Technology

 

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“Robotic neurorehabilitation device for the fingers” Source: MELTIN

Advanced Robot Technology in Neurorehabilitation
The number of stroke patients in Japan is approximately 1.12 million1), and motor paralysis, which is a typical sequela of stroke, makes it difficult for patients to return to work, return to society, and achieve independence in daily life. In addition, upper limb functions are often harder to recover in stroke patients with hemiplegia than in those with lower limbs2), making it difficult for many to return to society because they “cannot write, use a personal computer, or do household chores.” For stroke patients with hemiplegia, how well they can restore upper limb paralysis through rehabilitation is a challenge that will significantly affect their rest of life.

In recent years, robots that assist in upper limb neurorehabilitation*1, such as robots that use electrical stimulation to help in repetitive facilitation exercise*2 and robots that improve paralysis by repeatedly performing set reaching movements*3, are made available. Among these, the “robotic neurorehabilitation device for the fingers” from MELTIN MMI (hereafter “MELTIN”) has attracted particular attention and is expected from the clinical settings.

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“Rehabilitation with robotic neurorehabilitation device for the fingers” 
Source: MELTIN

MELTIN's Cyborg Technology
MELTIN, founded in 2013, has a vision of “Unleashing human's physical limitations through Cyborg Technology and embodying a world where everyone can make their dreams come true regardless of age or physical condition.” They are engaged in research, development, and commercialization of medical devices and avatar robots that utilize bio-signal processing and robot technologies. In addition, MELTIN's business using cutting-edge cyborg technology has attracted tremendous attention, winning the Excellence Award and Jury Special Award at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ “Rise Up Festa” in 2016 and the Semi-Grand Prix in the Devices/Technologies Category at CEATEC AWARD 2018. In particular, MELTIN has great technologies in “bio-signal processing” and “robot mechanism control” and is expected to be an innovator in robotic rehabilitation.


The avatar robot developed by MELTIN “MELTANT-α CAPABILITIES” 
Source: MELTIN

MELTIN has developed a unique bio-signal processing algorithm that allows highly-accurate, real-time analyses of diverse bio-signals. It means that we can perform very complex movements instantly and operate the robot intuitively without special training. In addition, the robot hand control mechanism, inspired by copying the human hand, reproduces the human hand's complex movements in a wire-driven manner. It enables the robot to perform strong and delicate movements, which would never have been possible using traditional robotics but with the same size and weight as a human hand.

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“Robotic hand control mechanism with wire-driven that copies human muscles and tendons for strong and delicate movements”
Source: MELTIN

Robotic Neurorehabilitation Device for the Fingers
MELTIN's “Robotic Neurorehabilitation Device for the Fingers” has been realized by integrating “Analysis technology using AI” to “Bio-Signal” and “Robot Control.” Analyzing complex myoelectric data*4 using our original AI algorithms make it possible to instantly identify the intended movements and offer motor assistance connected to effective rehabilitation.

(To be continued to the next part)


【Footnotes】

*1 Neurorehabilitation: A method of rehabilitation that is based on neuroscience. The expectation is for the brain to relearn how to move the body by rebuilding the pathways of the cranial nerves. 
*2 Prompt facilitation exercise: Repetitive manipulation of the paralyzed hand or leg to acquire the intended movement.
*3 Reaching movement: Movement to extend the hand in a straight line over the shortest distance toward a target object.
*4 Myoelectric data: Data of minute electric currents generated in associated with muscle contraction.

【Source】

1) Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.「『平成29年(2017)患者調査の概況』 5 主な傷病の総患者数」、 https://www.mhlw.go.jp/toukei/saikin/hw/kanja/17/dl/05.pdf
2) Johanna H van der Lee, et al. Stroke. 1999; 30: 2369-2375.  
3) MELTIN MMI website  http://www.meltin.jp/en/

We have not received any rewards from the publishers for writing this manuscript.


【MELTIN MMI】


“THE VISION of MELTIN” Source: MELTIN MMI

MELTIN MMI is expertise in R&D and commercialization of medical devices and avatar robots by using bio-signals in order to develop bio-signal processing technology and avatar robot technology. Because our ultimate goal is to realize Cyborg Technology that is well known as artificial body and brain-machine interface (interface between brain and machine) for unleashing human's physical limitation and maximizing our creativity for embodying a world where everyone can make their dreams come true.


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