Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering (M.S.M.E.)

Degree Granting Department

Mechanical Engineering

Major Professor

Stephanie Carey, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Rajiv Dubey, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kyle Reed, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen Sundarrao, M.S.


Assistive Device, Orthotic Device, Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury, Upper Limb


Individuals with an incomplete C5-C7 spinal cord injury (SCI) lose grasping abilities but wrist function is almost universally retained. Most rehabilitation techniques apply the tenodesis effect, however, current tenodesis wrist-hand orthoses (WHOs) engage only the thumb and index finger, meaning that only 20% of activities of daily living (ADLs) can be completed.

This study tested the feasibility of a student-designed powered WHO by testing the device on healthy subjects to see if they could complete a variety of ADLs. A simulation software was then used to analyze wrist, thumb, and index finger joint angles. Additionally, an Assistive Technology Survey was distributed to members of the SCI population to gather information on whether there is a need for this assistive device, the population that could benefit from using this orthosis, and current level of difficulty and methods used when grasping everyday objects. The successes and failures of the orthosis testing, along with responses from the survey provided valuable information for future orthosis iterations that will be tested on the SCI population.

Moving forward, the orthosis should be constructed with (1) a stronger motor and (2) rubber grips on the inside of the hand. Both enhancements will facilitate more secure grasping for testing the WHO on the target population. A future version of this WHO would be as a rehabilitation device so that it could be utilized to help a wider range of individuals (e.g. individuals who have suffered a stroke).