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Journal of Healthcare Engineering
Volume 5 (2014), Issue 2, Pages 145-162
Research Article

Evaluation of Upper Limb Sense of Position in Healthy Individuals and Patients after Stroke

I. Cusmano,1 I. Sterpi,1 A. Mazzone,2 S. Ramat,3 C. Delconte,4 F. Pisano,4 and R. Colombo1,2

1IRCCS, Service of Bioengineering, “Salvatore Maugeri” Foundation, Pavia, Italy
2IRCCS, Service of Bioengineering, “Salvatore Maugeri” Foundation, Veruno (NO), Italy
3Department of Computer and Systems Science, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
4IRCCS, Division of Neurology, “Salvatore Maugeri” Foundation, Veruno (NO), Italy

Received 1 July 2013; Accepted 1 December 2013

Copyright © 2014 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


The aims of this study were to develop and evaluate reliability of a quantitative assessment tool for upper limb sense of position on the horizontal plane. We evaluated 15 healthy individuals (controls) and 9 stroke patients. A robotic device passively moved one arm of the blindfolded participant who had to actively move his/her opposite hand to the mirror location in the workspace. Upper-limb's position was evaluated by a digital camera. The position of the passive hand was compared with the active hand's ‘mirror’ position. Performance metrics were then computed to measure the mean absolute errors, error variability, spatial contraction/expansion, and systematic shifts. No significant differences were observed between dominant and non-dominant active arms of controls. All performance parameters of the post-stroke group differed significantly from those of controls. This tool can provide a quantitative measure of upper limb sense of position, therefore allowing detection of changes due to rehabilitation.