Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Robotic Gym to Automate Rehab

Robotic Ankle machine follows robot arm to help stroke survivors recover...

MIT develops Anklebot for stroke patients

Clinical trials have already shown that an MIT robotic arm can help stroke patients regain movement faster. Now MIT pioneers in the field of robotic therapy are hoping a robotic gym full of machines targeted at different parts of the body will significantly improve stroke patients' movement in arms, wrists, hands, legs and ankles.

To that end the researchers have created a new Anklebot, and on July 1, MIT and the Baltimore Veterans Administration Medical Center will establish a Center of Excellence on Task-Oriented Exercise and Robotics in Neurological Diseases to further such work on lower extremity movement.

"This heralds a transition of therapeutic robotics from research to practice, similar to when computers went from being specialized number-crunchers for engineering and science to the ubiquitous consumer appliances for word-processing and presentation that we use today," said MIT Professor Neville Hogan, a principal investigator in the work who holds appointments in mechanical engineering and brain and cognitive sciences.

Hermano Igo Krebs, co-principal investigator and a principal research scientist in mechanical engineering, said, "It appears that we are at the cusp of a revolution in the way rehabilitation medicine is practiced, and therapeutic robotics is at center stage.

The researchers have also been creating other machines focusing on different parts of the body. These include one for the spatial movements of the shoulder and elbow, one for the wrist and one for the hand. "We've seen hints that generalization [from one machine] is limited, and to deliver optimal therapy clinicians need a gym of robots," said Krebs

MIT develops Anklebot for stroke patients - MIT News Office


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