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Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. 2017 Feb;12(2):175-183. Epub 2016 Jan 6.

Feasibility and usability of a wearable orthotic for stroke survivors with hand impairment.

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a Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering , University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee , Milwaukee , WI , USA.
b Department of Biomedical Engineering , University of Wisconsin-Madison , Madison , WI , USA.
c Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Health Professions, Department of Health Sciences and Research , Medical University of South Carolina , Charleston , SC , USA.



The concept of a vibrating wristband, to improve dextrous hand function of stroke survivors, was recently proposed with clinical results and is referred to as 'TheraBracelet' in this paper. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate feasibility of a portable, wearable TheraBracelet, and to apply usability evaluation techniques to assess potential demands of TheraBracelet and to identify critical improvement needs of the prototype.


A prototype was developed with a vibrating element housed in an elastic wristband and connected to a wearable electronics box via a cable. Expectation for TheraBracelet and evaluation of the prototype were obtained from 10 chronic stroke survivors using surveys before and after using the prototype and House of Quality analysis.


The survey for expectation showed stroke survivors' willingness to try out TheraBracelet at a low cost. The survey evaluating the prototype showed that the current prototype was overall satisfactory with a mean rating of 3.7 out of 5. The House of Quality analysis revealed that the priority improvement needs for the prototype are to improve clinical knowledge on long-term effectiveness, reduce cost, ease donning/doffing and waterproof.


This study presents a potential for a low-cost wearable hand orthotic likable by stroke survivors. Implications for Rehabilitation Feasibility for a portable wearable wristband-type hand orthotic was demonstrated. The survey showed stroke survivors are willing to try such an orthotic at low cost. The current prototype was rated overall satisfactory by stroke survivors. This study provides a potential for a low-cost wearable hand orthotic likable by stroke survivors.


Hand function; House of Quality; sensory deficits; sensory stimulation; stochastic resonance; stroke rehabilitation; tactile sensation; usability evaluation

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