The way the Bionic Glove works is as follows. The user places self-adhesive electrodes over certain muscles and puts the glove on over the electrodes. Tightening the glove causes internal panels to make electrical contact with metal studs on the backs of the electrodes. The user's wrist movements are sensed by a transducer and analyzed by a microprocessor/stimulator unit located on the back of the glove. This unit routes stimulus trains through the panels to the electrodes, activating muscles to produce pinch-grip or hand opening. The design of the glove has evolved over the last 5 years from an experimental system comprising separate electrodes, wires, a transducer and a 4- channel stimulator, to the present integrated garment used at home by patients.
A multicentre trial of the glove is underway in 7 centers in Canada, USA, Australia and Switzerland (Wieler et al. 1995, Prochazka et al. 1996). By May 1996, 37 spinal-cord injured people had been fitted with Bionic Gloves. The results of these clinical trials will be reported in detail at scientific meetings and in scientific journals. Updates will apear in this home page. A trial with hemiplegic users will start soon in Edmonton and in other North American cities later in the year.
The analog controller has now been "cloned" in digital form using the microprocessor of the Bionic Glove (Law, 1995). We have adapted a Bionic Glove in the form of an armlet to attenuate wrist tremor. This device is currently undergoing its first trials in normal subjects mimicking tremor.
GREAT GENERAL REFERENCE:
TEETER, J.O'M. et al. (1995) Functional Electrical Stimulation FES Resource Guide. Cleveland: FES Information Center, 206 pp. (To order phone 1 216 231 3257).
REFERENCES CITED IN TEXT:
HINES, A.E., CRAGO, P.E., BILLIAN, C. (1995) Hand opening by electrical stimulation in patients with spastic hemiplegia. IEEE Trans. Rehab. Eng., 3, 193-204.
JAVIDAN, M., ELEK, J. & PROCHAZKA, A. (1992) Attenuation of pathological tremors by functional electrical stimulation: II. Clinical application. Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 20: 225-236.
LAW, J. J. (1995) Tremor reduction by FES using digital feedback. U. of A. M.Sc. Thesis, Dept. of Engineering.
PROCHAZKA, A., ELEK, J. & JAVIDAN, M. (1992) Attenuation of pathological tremors by functional electrical stimulation: I. Technique. Annals of Biomedical Engineering., 20: 205-224.
WIELER, M., PROCHAZKA, A., KENWELL, Z., GAUTHIER, M. & ISAACSON, G. (1995) Multi-centre trials of the Bionic Glove: using electrical stimulation to improve hand closing and opening in people with spinal cord injury. World Fed. Phys. Therapy Congr., Washington DC June 25-30.
PROCHAZKA, A., WIELER, M. & GAUTHIER, M. (1996) The Bionic Glove. Abstract of the First Annual Conference of the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society, Cleveland Ohio, May 14- 16.