Assessment of Active and Passive Restraint during Guided Reaching after Chronic Brain Injury

David J. Reinkensmeyer*, Brian D. Schmit, William Z. Rymer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


We report the use of a mechatronic device for assessing arm movement impairment after chronic brain injury. The device, called the "Assisted Rehabilitation and Measurement Guide," is designed to guide reaching movements across the workspace, to measure movement and force generation, and to apply controlled forces to the arm along linear reaching paths. We performed a series of experiments using the device in order to identify the contribution of active muscle and passive tissue restraint to decreased active range of motion of guided reaching (i.e., "workspace deficits") in a group of five chronic, spastic hemiparetic, brain-injured subjects. Our findings were that passive tissue restraint was increased in the spastic arms, as compared to the contralateral, nonparetic arms. Active muscle restraint, on the other hand, was typically comparable in the two arms, as quantified by measurements of active arm stiffness at the workspace boundary during reaching. In all subjects, there was evidence of movement-generated weakness, consistent with a small contribution of spasticity to workspace deficits. These results demonstrate the feasibility of mechatronic assessment of the causes of decreased functional movement, and could provide a basis for enhanced treatment planning and monitoring following brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-814
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1999


  • Bioinstrumentation
  • Biomechanics
  • Neurological control systems
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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