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AI-Powered Robotic Glove Could Help Recovering Stroke Victims

Using the complex task of playing the piano, a high-tech glove gives feedback to the wearer in real time as they work to re-establish mobility after experiencing a stroke.

white robotic glove with red wires sitting on an electric piano
Florida Atlantic University
After someone suffers a stroke or other trauma affecting neuropathways, impacts to the strength and coordination of their limbs can make many daily tasks very challenging. While devices exist to help, they tend to be rigid and don’t mimic the nuanced movements of normal body function.

A new glove from researchers at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) aims to change that. The glove is made from soft material and uses artificial intelligence to improve hand dexterity in patients who have experienced a stroke. The researchers used the complex task of playing the piano as their test: By using flexible sensors in the glove’s fingertips, the glove can feel the difference between the wearer playing the correct and incorrect versions of a predetermined song.

The glove was programmed to know “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and given algorithms to learn its possible common errors on the piano. It can then sense in real time whether the wearer is playing the song correctly and give tactile feedback and adjustments, helping them relearn the movement more easily than other assistive devices.

Stella Batalama, dean of the FAU College of Engineering and Computer Science, called the glove a “game-changer.”

“Although other soft robotic actuators have been used to play the piano,” she said, “our robotic glove is the only one that has demonstrated the capability to ‘feel’ the difference between correct and incorrect versions of the same song.”

Source: Florida Atlantic University

This story originally appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Government Technology magazine. Click here to view the full digital edition online.