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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2018, Article ID 4132820, 10 pages
Research Article

Development of a System Architecture for Evaluation and Training of Proprioceptive Deficits of the Upper Limb

1Service of Bioengineering, IRCCS ICS Maugeri Spa SB, Pavia, Italy
2Service of Bioengineering, IRCCS ICS Maugeri Spa SB, Veruno, Italy
3Neurologic Rehabilitation Division, IRCCS ICS Maugeri Spa SB, Veruno, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Roberto Colombo; ti.ireguamsci@obmoloc.otrebor

Received 2 October 2017; Accepted 7 December 2017; Published 10 January 2018

Academic Editor: Saeid Sanei

Copyright © 2018 Roberto Colombo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Proprioception plays a fundamental role in maintaining posture and executing movement, and the quantitative evaluation of proprioceptive deficits in poststroke patients is important. But currently it is not widely performed due to the complexity of the evaluation tools required for a reliable assessment. The aims of this pilot study were to (a) develop a system architecture for upper limb evaluation and training of proximal and distal sense of position in the horizontal plane and (b) test the system in healthy and pathological subjects. Two robotic devices for evaluation and training of, respectively, wrist flexion/extension and shoulder-elbow manipulation were employed. The system we developed was applied in a group of 12 healthy subjects and 10 patients after stroke. It was able to quantitatively evaluate upper limb sense of position in the horizontal plane thanks to a set of quantitative parameters assessing position estimation errors, variability, and gain. In addition, it was able to distinguish healthy from pathological conditions. The system could thus be a reliable method to detect changes in the sense of position of patients with sensory deficits after stroke and could enable the implementation of novel training approaches for the recovery of normal proprioception.