A number of neuropathologies such as Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMD), cause disability in the upper extremity due to the loss of muscle strength. This will eventually prevent the individual from moving their arms in three-dimensional space so it has been proposed that a robotic orthosis could support and augment movement. This orthosis would need to accommodate the movement capabilities of the user. To accomplish this, knowledge of how movements are formed and controlled in the presence of neuromuscular disease needs to be determined. While the arm was supported in a floatation device, DMD subjects were asked to make pointing movements to several targets in the transverse plane. This was done from two start positions while torso movement was constrained and unconstrained. The hand trajectories formed while the torso was constrained were essentially straight but at a cost to the uni-modality of the hand velocity profile. In this configuration the velocity profile contains several phases of acceleration and deceleration producing a multi-modal profile. However, the additional degrees of freedom introduced in the unconstrained torso configuration were employed is such a manner as to produce a smooth uni-modal hand velocity profile.

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