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The WristSense project is a highly customizable and inexpensive wrist orthosis for C1-C5 tetraplegic users to fabricate themselves using 3-D printing and off-the-shelf components.

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Why WristSense?

Wrist orthoses or braces are prescribed during rehabilitation assist individuals with reduced strength and function in their wrists and hands in order to stabilize the patient's wrist. Maintaining a neutral hand and wrist position is very helpful for tetraplegics to operate a wheelchair and joystick and perform other non-dexterous manual functions.

Wrist braces are typically worn throughout the day for several hours. Tetraplegics may replace typical wrist braces every 1 to 2 years, which adds up to 30 or more pairs of wrist braces in one's lifetime. Standard leather wrist braces, typically worn by C1-C5 tetraplegics, can cost $75 a pair and last only a couple years before needing to be replaced.

The goal of the WristSense project is to provide an open-source and inexpensive approach for tetraplegics to fashion and fabricate their own wrist braces using 3-D printing and off-the-shelf components.

There are a limited number of vendors of wrist braces with a few standard sizes and one- or two-color options. In contrast, WristSense braces only cost a few dollars and can be developed wherever there is access to 3-D printing. Users can make design changes to these wrist braces based on specific requirements due to body type, the type of clothing to be worn, to accommodate wearing watches or bracelets, or simply to provide different color choices.

The WristSense orthosis is designed to be multifunctional allowing different devices, e.g. smartwatch or mechatronics to be easily attached to enable the user to perform a variety of tasks such as using a laser pointer, wirelessly control a mouse pointer, swiping a credit card, using a key, operating a remote control, or other manual tasks.