According to the MIT Techology Review, a startup called Chicago PT has developed an amazing rehabilitation robotics system for patients recovering from stroke who are relearning how to walk:
Chicago PT’s robot allows patients to make mistakes safely. The wheeled machine uses arms and a harness to give patients different degrees of support and guidance as their ability to walk improves. At first the robot might support all of a patient’s weight and slowly move straight forward, while the therapist rides along in a wheeled chair, guiding the patient’s legs through walking motions. Freed from having to support patients, therapists can “be really intelligent with their hands rather than being just a clamp to keep a person from falling over,” according to Brown.
As patients get stronger and more coordinated, a therapist can program the robot to let them bear more weight and move more freely in different directions, walking, kicking a ball, or even lunging to the side to catch one. The robot can follow the patient’s lead as effortlessly as a ballroom dancer, its presence nearly undetectable until it senses the patient starting to drop and quickly stops a fall. In the later stages of physical therapy, the robot can nudge patients off balance to help them learn to recover.
The company says that its robot can function in different customizable modes: walking exercise modes (walking, challenge, strength training, stabilization, body weight support) and balance exercise modes (perturbation, challenge, stabilization).
To learn more about the robot, go to the company’s website.
More at the MIT Techology Review…