Robot legs helping stroke patients

September 26, 2011 by Deborah Braconnier weblog
Robot legs helping stroke patients
Subject’s leg strapped to LOPES exoskeleton

(Medical Xpress) -- When it comes to recovering from a stroke, one of the major goals or rehabilitation is learning how to walk again. Researchers in the Netherlands are working with a prototype device called the LOwer Extremity Powered ExoSkeleton, or LOPES, to help retrain the mind and body of stroke patients and help them regain the ability to walk with a natural step.

Researchers from the University of Twente have been developing LOPES over the last several years. It is designed for rehabilitation clinics as a support for patients on a . The machine is able to do all of the walking for a patient, offer support to one leg or the other and can detect what the patient is doing wrong with their walking.

For example, the machine compares how the patient is lifting their foot to a reference pattern. If the patient is not lifting the foot correctly, the machine will exert force or torque in order to help the patient perform the action correctly.

Robot legs helping stroke patients
Schematic overview of degrees of freedom

While aiding the patient in the physical mechanics of moving their legs, the machine also works as a . The feeling of correct movement has triggered memories in the brain of how walking should occur. The researchers believe that by physically making them perform the movement correctly, the action helps the brain develop the signals required for eventual movement on their own.

LOPES is also being used with spinal injury patients that still have some function in their or have recovered some limited use. The researchers hope to have a commercial version of LOPES available to rehabilitation clinics around the world sometime in the next year.

Explore further: New treadmill significantly improves rehabilitation

More information: Project page

via BBC

Related Stories

New treadmill significantly improves rehabilitation

September 16, 2011

Learning to walk again after a stroke, broken hip or amputation can now be made a lot more realistic thanks to a new treadmill. The so-called C-Mill has been developed by NWO researcher Melvyn Roerdink (VU University Amsterdam) ...

Recommended for you

Natural compound reduces signs of aging in healthy mice

October 27, 2016

Much of human health hinges on how well the body manufactures and uses energy. For reasons that remain unclear, cells' ability to produce energy declines with age, prompting scientists to suspect that the steady loss of efficiency ...

A metabolic switch to turn off obesity

October 27, 2016

You've tried all the diets. No matter: you've still regained the weight you lost, even though you ate well and you exercised regularly! This may be due to a particular enzyme in the brain: the alpha/beta hydrolase domain-6 ...

Scientists develop 'world-first' 3-D mammary gland model

October 27, 2016

A team of researchers from Cardiff University and Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute has succeeded in creating a three-dimensional mammary gland model that will pave the way for a better understanding of the mechanisms ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Oct 01, 2011

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.