A recent article from Reuters touts a Swiss rehab system, with robot-assisted lower extremities controls. Research, reported by the German team in the February issue of Stroke, found that the system by Hocoma AG was beneficial to patients status post stroke by making their leg muscles stronger, and by letting them gain more muscle mass than a control group.
The company has two devices, called Lokomat, for adults and peds. Here’s how the company explains the basics of its system:
The basic version of the Lokomat System consists of the Lokomat (robotic gait orthosis) and the Lokobasis (body weight support system). It is used in combination with a Woodway treadmill. The orthosis is position controlled. The patient’s legs are guided according to a pre-programmed physiological gait pattern. The computer controlled guidance allows individual adjustments of different gait parameters.
The Lokomat System utilizes high quality computer controlled motors (drives) which are integrated in the gait orthosis at each hip and knee joint. Force transducers at the joints accurately measure the interaction between the patient and the Lokomat. The drives are precisely synchronized with the speed of the treadmill. This sensitive system assures a precise match between the speed of the gait orthosis and the treadmill.
Hip and knee joint angles are controlled in real time by software to achieve a physiologically meaningful gait pattern. Each of the four joints is constantly monitored by the Lokomat’s software to ensure that they are precisely held to the predefined gait pattern.
The Lokomat Robotic Gait Orthosis is adjustable to the patient’s anatomy. Hip width, length of upper and lower leg, size and position of the leg braces can be conveniently and individually adjusted to every adult. Specially designed leg braces prevent pressure sores during the training session.
A user interface allows the therapist to easily operate the Lokomat and adjust training parameters to suit the individual patient’s needs at any point during a training session. Patients in a wheelchair can be escorted on a ramp onto the treadmill and efficiently fit into the Lokomat. By making only minor adjustments, the Lokomat can be moved out of the way from the treadmill, making it possible to easily switch from automated to manual therapy.
To learn more about Lokomat . . .