Hand-worn devices for assessment and rehabilitation of motor function and their potential use in BCI protocols: a review

Madison Bates, Sridhar Sunderam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: Various neurological conditions can impair hand function. Affected individuals cannot fully participate in activities of daily living due to the lack of fine motor control. Neurorehabilitation emphasizes repetitive movement and subjective clinical assessments that require clinical experience to administer. Methods: Here, we perform a review of literature focused on the use of hand-worn devices for rehabilitation and assessment of hand function. We paid particular attention to protocols that involve brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) since BCIs are gaining ground as a means for detecting volitional signals as the basis for interactive motor training protocols to augment recovery. All devices reviewed either monitor, assist, stimulate, or support hand and finger movement. Results: A majority of studies reviewed here test or validate devices through clinical trials, especially for stroke. Even though sensor gloves are the most commonly employed type of device in this domain, they have certain limitations. Many such gloves use bend or inertial sensors to monitor the movement of individual digits, but few monitor both movement and applied pressure. The use of such devices in BCI protocols is also uncommon. Discussion: We conclude that hand-worn devices that monitor both flexion and grip will benefit both clinical diagnostic assessment of function during treatment and closed-loop BCI protocols aimed at rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1121481
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant No. 1849213.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 Bates and Sunderam.


  • assistive devices
  • brain-computer interface
  • functional assessment
  • hand function impairments
  • monitoring devices
  • neurorehabilitation
  • sensor gloves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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