Initial Development of Mechanical Arm Support for Spinal Muscular Atrophy Patient
Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA disorder is generally thought to have affected as many as 1 in 40 in country like USA. SMA type 2 and 3 are commonly found in Indonesia. Children who suffer from SMA disease cannot move their hands with flexion - extension and abduction - adduction orientation maximally, because the muscles in the patient cannot support the movements of the hand. In this project, an initial joint effort was conducted by SGU and Bioteknik Design, to develop an active mechanical arm support with muscular feedback. Hence, the hand movements of the patient can be supported externally through detecting the muscle tension produced by moving the patient's hand. The tension is detected using Carbon Nanotube (CNT)-coated thread Mechanomyography (MMG) sensor. The sensor signal is then fed into Arduino microcontroller, to give appropriate control signal to the universal power window motor. As an early proof of concept, wood was used as the main structural material for the arm support. The project, however, did not go as expected due to the lack of torque from the motor and missed feedback connection from the sensor. A counter balance mechanism like spring may be attached for future improvement.