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NeuroRehabilitation. 2013;33(1):3-11. doi: 10.3233/NRE-130922.

Three upper limb robotic devices for stroke rehabilitation: a review and clinical perspective.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.



Stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Many survivors of stroke remain with residual disabilities, even years later. Advances in technology have led to the development of a variety of robotic devices for use in rehabilitation. The integration of robotics in the delivery of neurorehabilitation is promising, but still not widely used in clinical settings.


The aim of this review is to discuss the general design of three typical upper limb robotic devices, and examine the practical considerations for their use in a clinical environment.


Each device is described, the available clinical literature is reviewed and a clinical perspective is given on the usefulness of these robotic devices in rehabilitation of this population.


Current literature supports the use of robotics in the clinical environment. However, claims that robotic therapy is more effective than traditional treatment is not substantially supported. The majority of clinical trials reported are small, and lack the use of a control group for comparison treatment.


The use of robotics in stroke rehabilitation is still a relatively new treatment platform, and still evolving. As technological advances are made, there is much potential for growth in this field.

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