Robotic therapy has great potential for helping people with all kinds of injuries and disorders to regain motor function. Robots can lead patients along finely tuned exercise routines, helping them perform tasks that would otherwise need highly trained therapists. Toyota, the one that makes Camrys, is about to begin trialling its Walk Training Assist and Balance Training Assist robots at twenty rehab facilities around Japan.
The Walk Training Assist is designed to aid people with leg paralysis relearn how to walk using a robotic brace that can properly swing the leg with every step. This is done over a treadmill whose motion is coordinated with the movement of the legs. A screen in front of the user provides video and audio feedback, including how to perform various tasks, while a display on the side provides therapists with information about how the patient is doing.
The Balance Training Assist, as the name implies, aids with improving balance while standing. The user stands on a device that looks like a Segway with small wheels and plays video games like rodeo, skiing, and tennis that require shifting of the body while trying to stay balanced. The games get more difficult as the player improves in ability, helping to move therapy along at a natural pace.
Toyota press statement: Toyota Robots Help People Walk Again…
(hat tip: SlashGear)