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Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
9th International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, 2005, ICORR 2005, June 28 - July 1, 2005
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We developed a real-time controller for a 2 degree-of-freedom robotic system using xPC Target. This system was used to investigate how different methods of performance error feedback can lead to faster and more complete motor learning in individuals asked to compensate for a novel visuo-motor transformation (a 30 degree rotation). Four groups of normal human subjects were asked to reach with their unseen arm to visual targets surrounding a central starting location. A cursor tracking hand motion was provided during each reach. For one group of subjects, deviations from the "ideal" compensatory hand movement (i.e. trajectory errors) were amplified with a gain of 2 whereas another group was provided visual feedback with a gain of 3.1. Yet another group was provided cursor feedback wherein the cursor was rotated by an additional (constant) offset angle. We compared the rates at which the hand paths converged to the steady-state trajectories. Our results demonstrate that error-augmentation can improve the rate and extent of motor learning of visuomotor rotations in healthy subjects. We also tested this method on straightening the movements of stroke subjects, and our early results suggest that error amplification can facilitate neurorehabilitation strategies in brain injuries such as stroke.