Assistant Professor Yu Haoyong and his team from the National University of Singapore have created a robotic walker to assist physiotherapists. This newly designed device promises not only to improve the quality but also the productivity of therapy sessions. The most important aspect of this machine is that it allows the patient to practice walking on the ground instead of a treadmill.
This technology consists of six different modules: an active body weight support unit; an omni-directional mobile platform; a pelvic and trunk motion support unit; a functional electrical stimulator; a variety of body sensors, and an easy-to-understand user interface.
The body sensors provide feedback on the patient’s gait to the robot so it can adjust the amount of support to help the patient walk more normally. The electrical stimulation component allows the delivery of electrical current to spur leg muscles to move. Furthermore, the robotic walker can provide tunable forces to assist, resist, or disturb the patient’s walk, which allows the therapist to set specific training schemes and relieve him/herself of any physical labor that would otherwise be necessary to support the patient.
Assistant Professor Yu is already planning clinical studies at the National University Hospital and later plans to commercialize the product for use in outpatient clinics and rehabilitation centers.
National University of Singapore Press Release: Novel robotic walker invented by NUS researchers…