Patient care & support

Opportunity for adults with DMD to take part in research

August 2019

Researchers from the Imperial College London Department of Bioengineering and Computing (Dr Aldo Faisal and Dr Ali Shafti) have developed a human-robot interface for robotic reach and grasp support, which relies on the user’s eye gaze.

This robotic support could help DMD patients to reach and grip with their own arms. It is non-invasive equipment, which users can learn to use in a matter of minutes.

The study is entitled, ‘Technical evaluation of a human-robot gaze-based interface for assisted reaching and grasping’.

The researchers are looking for 25 healthy volunteers and 25 volunteers with both reaching and grasping paralysis, above the age of 18, to take part in a study for the technical evaluation of the above interface. 

For the DMD patient group, you should not have rigidity within the muscles/joints in the arm which would lead to discomfort if your arm/grip are actuated for you.

For the healthy group, you should not have any spinal or arm/grip injuries, or any other conditions, which would result in movement limitations within the arm/grip.

You will be asked to visit the South Kensington Campus (SW7 2AZ). You will be asked to put on eye-glasses to track your gaze. You will also be asked to wear a soft robotic glove for grasping assistance, and a magnetic arm attachment on your wrist, which will couple your arm with the robotic arm in the lab. After an initial calibration period which will last up to 15 minutes, we will ask you to control the robotic system with your gaze, initially in free mode, to get to know the system and get used to its behaviour, and then in specific pre-defined tasks for systematic evaluation of the setup.

Participation will involve one session lasting approximately 2 hours. You will be paid £10 per hour for your participation in the study. For each session you attend we are pleased to offer a travel expense contribution of £10. 

To obtain more information about this study, or to volunteer, please contact Ali Shafti by email at [email protected].

You can see the system in action in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHcipV4UAUs




What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common fatal genetic disease diagnosed in childhood. Children born with DMD cannot produce the protein dystrophin which is vital for muscle strength and function. Muscle weakness starts in early childhood. Many use a wheelchair by around the age of 12. As deterioration continues it leads to paralysis and early death, often in their 20s. It almost exclusively affects boys. There is no treatment or cure. In the UK there are around 2,500 boys affected and around 300, 000 worldwide. It is classified as a rare disease.

Who are Duchenne UK?

Duchenne UK is a lean, ambitious and highly focused charity with a clear vision: to fund and accelerate treatments and a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

We are investing millions of pounds in research right now to bring treatments and a cure to help this generation. Duchenne UK is the largest funder of DMD research in the UK. We are also committed to accelerating the pace of research. 90p in every £1 raised is committed to research.

Our president is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. Our patrons include the broadcasters Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Mary Nightingale, and the sports stars Owen Farrell, Kris Radlinski and Andy Farrell. 

We need your help, because we need to keep funding promising new research.

How to donate?

Duchenne UK is entirely reliant on donations to fund research for treatments and a cure to DMD. This can be done via:

  • Direct Debit – Duchenne Direct
  • Individual Donation – Donate
  • If you are a family or friend affected by DMD you can set up your own fund with Duchenne UK – Family and Friend Funds
  • Take part in one of our fundraising events – Events
  • Text DUCHENNE to 70085 to donate £5. This costs £5 plus a std rate msg.

For more information and interview requests:

Visit www.duchenneuk.org

Molly Hunt – Head of Communications, Duchenne UK E: [email protected]

Published on 14 August 2019

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