Comparison of Manual and Robotic Proprioceptive Acuity Systems

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Comparison of Manual and Robotic Proprioceptive Acuity Systems

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2022-04-30

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Awareness of the spatial position of our body and limbs, known as proprioception, is important for bodily function and motor operation. Particularly at the ankle joint, motor skills such as balance, walking, and coordination rely on intact ankle proprioception. Without a fully-functional proprioceptive system, quality of life declines as individuals find greater difficulty completing simple and coordinated, everyday physical tasks and actions. A number of different factors can lead to proprioceptive impairment, including brain injury, developmental disorder, and neurological diseases. These include stroke, cerebral palsy, diabetic neuropathy, and Parkinson’s disease. Many ways to measure proprioceptive acuity exist and can vary based on measurement outcomes, study aims, and participant demographics. Our study constructed two ankle proprioceptive acuity systems (APAS), one manual and one robotic. This was done to examine whether the same participant would demonstrate similar ankle position sense values when applying the same psychophysical paradigms across two different devices. We hypothesized that within subjects, ankle position sense acuity would not vary significantly between the two systems. A sample of 14 healthy, neurologically unimpaired individuals (age range 19-27 years) were recruited. Participants’ right ankles were tested for ankle position sense acuity using the two systems. This allowed for identification of the just noticeable difference (JND) threshold, defined as the angle for which the participant had a 75% correct answer response rate. Participants were also measured regarding their precision, or the area of uncertainty one has about the JND threshold. Results revealed that the JND threshold was statistically significantly different (p < 0.001) between the manual and robotic APAS systems. However, precision was not statistically significantly different between the two devices (p = 0.95). Given the significant difference in JND threshold outcomes, we recommend one system be used uniformly in future studies. Using both manual and robotic APAS systems simultaneously in a single study may result in confounding measurement error. With a control population collected and a strong understanding of the differences between the two APAS systems, we are prepared to continue research studies that further our understanding of the proprioceptive sense.

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This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

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Fall, Nicole; Sertic, Jacquelyn; Huang, Qiyin; Konczak, Jürgen. (2022). Comparison of Manual and Robotic Proprioceptive Acuity Systems. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/227160.

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