Trauma and rehabilitation: Edited by Phillippe VuadensRobot-assisted rehabilitation of hand functionBalasubramanian, Sivakumar*; Klein, Julius*; Burdet, EtienneAuthor Information Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, UK *Sivakumar Balasubramanian and Julius Klein contributed equally to the writing of this article. Correspondence to Etienne Burdet, PhD, South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK E-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Neurology: December 2010 - Volume 23 - Issue 6 - p 661-670 doi: 10.1097/WCO.0b013e32833e99a4 Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review Initial work on robot-assisted neurorehabilitation for the upper extremity aimed primarily at training, reaching movements with the proximal sections of the upper extremity. However, recent years have seen a surge in devices dedicated to hand function. This review describes the state of the art and the promises of this novel therapeutic approach. Recent findings Numerous robotic devices for hand function with various levels of complexity and functionality have been developed over the last 10 years. These devices range from simple mechanisms that support single joint movements to mechanisms with as many as 18 degrees-of-freedom (DOF) that can support multijoint movements at the wrist and fingers. The results from clinical studies carried out with eight out of 30 reported devices indicate that robot-assisted hand rehabilitation reduces motor impairments of the affected hand and the arm, and improves the functional use of the affected hand. Summary The current evidence in support of the robot-assisted hand rehabilitation is preliminary but very promising, and provides a strong rationale for more systematic investigations in the future. © 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.