Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Document Type



Paralysis is a debilitating condition affecting as many as 5.4 million in the United States. Upper extremity paralysis/paresis is the most debilitating form of paralysis due to the robust kinematic patterns in our hands and wrist. These forces and movements available at our hand allow us to manipulate objects as small as a sewing needle yet still lift multiple grocery bags at one time on a daily basis. Inability to use the upper extremities usually necessitates 24-hour assistance. Therefore, it is imperative to build devices that are biomimetic to assist those with upper extremity paralysis. To accomplish this feat, this research attempted to capture forces and movement of the hand and wrist during activities of daily living (ADLs). An understanding of the forces and movement is imperative in designing algorithms for orthotics and prosthetics that mimic human movement. As a result of this collected data, flaws in design of sensors attempting to capture force and movement were discovered. Therefore, preliminary research was attempted to create sensors that could lead to better kinematic data. These sensors could also provide sensory feedback to those wearing prosthetics and orthotics. The final portion of the research dealt with the creation of orthotics or actuators of the hand. Two methods including soft robotics and mechanic gear orthotics were attempted. Further research in the actuation portion in order to create a device that is widely used by those who have some form of upper extremity paresis.



Committee Chair

Choi, Jin-Woo