Randy Simmons spent more than 10 years as a robotic engineer in the motion picture industry, working on films such as blockbusters Jurassic Park and Mimic. He now focuses mainly on devices and robotics for the rehabilitation in the medical industry as the chief scientist and designer of the Hand Glove.
The Functional Electrical Stimulation Hand Glove 200 is a prototypic device that incorporates both active functional electrical stimulation and passive robotic bio-mechanic movement. This combination is the first of its kind in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation. The Hand Glove actually allows the user to complete a full length therapy session in spite of early muscle exhaustion. This may provide more rapid gain in strength and functional muscle mass.
Physicians, occupational therapists and nurses at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center are conducting trials on the FES Hand Glove 200 with Veterans with spinal cord injury C4-6 and documented impairments of the upper extremity.
Upon successful screening, Veterans between the ages of 18 and 85 underwent an initial assessment with a fitting of the glove. The treatment protocol included a one-hour therapy session consisting of 30 minutes of passive range of motion followed by 30 minutes of functional electrical stimulation for a total of 24 sessions over six weeks.
Trial data suggests the device improved hand function, particularly fine motor skills, dexterity and speed, decreased swelling, improved range of motion and hand strength. This resulted in improved quality of life for patients with tetraplegia.
VA is now conducting a second trial on the use of the FES Hand Glove 200 in order to address the benefit of the robotic unit on spinal cord injury and polytrauma patients. This second trial will focus on the benefits on the device. So far, 17 Veterans have completed that trial.
The VA research team includes: Steven Scott, DO, Wanda VanHarlinger, OTR/L, ABDA, CLT,Yasmin Gonzalez, OTR/L, ABDA, CLT, John Merritt, MD, , Kevin White, MD, Jill Massengale, MS, ARNP-C, Rafael Mascarinas, MD.