Neuroscientists and clinician scientists around the world rely on neurological assessment to conduct research and to design treatments. However, they are often unable to identify subtle changes in brain function because of the coarseness and subjectivity of the tools that are available to them.
Kinarm is a solution to the lack of precision and consistency in neurological assessment. Our Kinarm Labs give neuroscientists and clinician-scientists a “window” on brain function that is objective and quantitative – allowing them to study, with exquisite precision, the sensory, motor and cognitive impact of a wide range of injuries and diseases, such as: stroke, cardiac arrest, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and Parkinson’s disease. Our cutting-edge robotic technology is transforming neurological assessment.
All Kinarm Labs share a common robotic configuration that enables a subject to interact with a two-dimensional virtual reality environment via their arm and hand. The subject sits in a chair either with robotic arms affixed (Kinarm Exoskeleton Lab) or grasps two robotic manipulandums (Kinarm End-Point Lab). The Kinarm robots can monitor what the subject is doing (i.e. where the robot is moved to) and can also perturb or move the subject’s hand or arm. The robot can provide visual feedback of the limb and of objects being presented in the horizontal plane of motion of the limb.
Kinarm Standard Tests (KST) are a suite of research-backed, strategically designed tasks that run on the Kinarm Labs. During a KST, the subject performs a task, such as directing a hand to a target, or interacting with an object in the environment, while the device precisely tracks, measures and records every arm movement, providing support or resistance as needed. After the 2 to 4-minute task is completed, the Kinarm Lab software, Dexterit-E, produces a detailed report of the subject’s performance, comparing their behaviour to an age, sex and handedness-matched control population.
To basic researchers, the Kinarm Lab provides the most flexible robotic platform for undertaking sensory, motor and cognitive research to study:
- Coordination of multi-joint and multi-limb motor actions with or without joint-based loads in human and NHP subjects
- Learning in altered visual and mechanical environments
- Solving complex cognitive problems
- Perceptual aspects of proprioception and body image
To clinical researchers, using the KST provides validated, sensitive and objective measures of sensorimotor and cognitive brain functions through the precise measurement of human behaviour – a method we call behaviourography. By using the suite of standardized protocols, a clinical researcher can assess the neurological impairments of a subject in a KINARM Lab in just 30 to 60 minutes. Importantly, no programming or analysis skills are required.