Background: Patient-specific performance assessment of arm movements in daily life activities is fundamental for neurological rehabilitation therapy. In most applications, the shoulder movement is simplified through a socket-ball joint, neglecting the movement of the scapular-thoracic complex. This may lead to significant errors. We propose an innovative bi-articular model of the human shoulder for estimating the position of the hand in relation to the sternum. The model takes into account both the scapular-toracic and gleno-humeral movements and their ratio governed by the scapular-humeral rhythm, fusing the information of inertial and textile-based strain sensors. Method: To feed the reconstruction algorithm based on the bi-articular model, an ad-hoc sensing shirt was developed. The shirt was equipped with two inertial measurement units (IMUs) and an integrated textile strain sensor. We built the bi-articular model starting from the data obtained in two planar movements (arm abduction and flexion in the sagittal plane) and analysing the error between the reference data-measured through an optical reference system-and the socket-ball approximation of the shoulder. The 3D model was developed by extending the behaviour of the kinematic chain revealed in the planar trajectories through a parameter identification that takes into account the body structure of the subject. Result: The bi-articular model was evaluated in five subjects in comparison with the optical reference system. The errors were computed in terms of distance between the reference position of the trochlea (end-effector) and the correspondent model estimation. The introduced method remarkably improved the estimation of the position of the trochlea (and consequently the estimation of the hand position during reaching activities) reducing position errors from 11.5 cm to 1.8 cm. Conclusion: Thanks to the developed bi-articular model, we demonstrated a reliable estimation of the upper arm kinematics with a minimal sensing system suitable for daily life monitoring of recovery.
Lorussi, F., Carbonaro, N., De Rossi, D., & Tognetti, A. (2016). A bi-articular model for scapular-humeral rhythm reconstruction through data from wearable sensors. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-016-0149-2