Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Taiwan’s largest and one of the world’s leading high-tech applied research institutions, introduces a Higher Sensitivity Tactile-film System for Wearable Orthosis (HSTS). This technology is designed to assist patients with Essential Tremor, a nervous system disorder characterized by rhythmic shaking, mostly impacting the hands. It affects an estimated 10 million Americans1 and millions more worldwide. ITRI’s Higher Sensitivity Tactile-film System for Wearable Orthosis is a finalist for the 2015 R&D 100 Awards in November in the “IT/Electrical” category.
Jointly developed by ITRI, Waseda University and Kikuchi Seisakusho Co., HSTS is a thin-film sensor technology, which interprets the wearer’s movements through physical contact between the orthosis device and the wearer’s skin, helping the wearer complete physical activities.
“With its ability to detect the human body’s muscle, posture and action variations, HSTS allows people with Essential Tremor to voluntarily control their movements, resulting in significant quality of life improvements,” said Jui-Yiao Su, Research Manager of Mechanical and Systems Research Laboratories, ITRI.
“HSTS is an important modern health advancement in the growing market for auxiliary wearable devices.”
The HSTS technology is an improvement upon the current auxiliary wearable device technologies and other devices that use the electromyogram (EMG) approach. EMG is not precise when capturing human surface muscle activities. In contrast, because HSTS is not influenced by physiological human changes, such as skin temperature and hydration levels, it reduces the likelihood of surface muscle activity errors that occurs with EMG.
With its lower disturbance sensitivity and lower cost than the leading wearable orthosis system, HSTS offers advantages in the auxiliary wearable device, artificial limb and intuitive human machine interface markets.
How It Works
HSTS operates using four primary components: tactile film, the data acquisition circuit box, the monitoring and image processing software and the wearable robotic orthosis.
The tactile film consists of thin-film tactile sensor arrays, which sense the wearer’s actions via force application and regional pressure variation. The benefits of this tactile film are its high sensitivity, lightness, thinness and flexibility. Meanwhile, the data acquisition circuit box ensures accurate measurements by generating a single scan on all array channels. The monitoring and image processing software measures pressure distribution to aid classification problems. Finally, the wearable robotic orthosis suppresses tremors and supports voluntary human movement at the elbow, including flexing and extending.
Industrial Technology Research Institute