updated 3/20/2007 11:54:10 AM ET 2007-03-20T15:54:10

Researchers at the Massachusetts of Institute of Technology say their robotic arm brace has significantly improved mobility of six stroke survivors.

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The lightweight brace slides onto an arm. Sensors placed on the front and back parts of the upper arm detect slight muscle contractions. A motor is then triggered, allowing the user to control the arm’s movement. The motor is contained in a backpack worn by the user.

The MIT researchers say thousands of stroke survivors could one day use the device, first in rehab centers and eventually in homes. It’s awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

The researchers say the best candidates for the arm brace are stroke victims who have some mobility remaining in an arm.

Their report appears Tuesday in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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