Life after a spinal cord injury can sometimes feel a little hopeless because you have to rely on someone else for everything, even simple everyday tasks like feeding yourself or brushing your teeth. Although modern medicine has not yet found a way to cure paralysis, modern technology is starting to bridge the gap. Modern technology is beginning to introduce exciting new ways that allow people who are paralyzed to regain some functionality back and, better yet, regain hope!
First, let’s start with a little anatomy lesson about the spinal cord. The spinal cord is made up of four regions - the cervical spine, the thoracic spine, the lumbar spine and the sacral spine. The spinal cord is especially important because it provides the pathway that messages travel from the brain to the rest of the body when you decide to move your hand towards a glass of water and grasp it so you can take a sip. This means that if the spinal cord gets injured, the brain can no longer send messages past the part of the body where the spinal cord got injured. If this is the part of the spinal cord that sends messages to your hands, this could mean losing functionality to grip and grasp objects. Typically the higher up on the spinal cord that the injury occurs, the more dysfunction the person will experience.
For example, if someone has an injury at the cervical 5-8 level (C5-C8) they will usually be able to move their shoulders and elbows but could have difficulties moving their wrists and fingers. This could lead to the inability to use the hands for simple tasks that are part of daily living. Not being able to control hand movement can get very frustrating because it can take away independence.
Wearable hand robot for spinal cord injury
Luckily, Neofect has a created a robotic assistive device called NeoMano that helps with hand motions in order to give people back their hand function and independence. NeoMano is a wearable robot hand glove that assists with the grasp and release of objects. The glove is a partial-glove design that enables the thumb, pointer and middle finger to perform grasp and release motions. NeoMano can assist people with everyday tasks such as feeding, writing, exercising, and daily grooming tasks. People have even rediscovered old hobbies with the use of NeoMano, like golfing and photography!
To learn more about NeoMano please visit neomano.neofect.com. Don’t forget to share with your friends or family that would find NeoMano interesting or useful!
- Becky Alter, OTR/LBecky is an occupational therapist and healthcare content writer based out of Denver, CO.