Unique walking robot moves into rehabilitation clinic

May 14, 2014

The LOPES II rehabilitation robot has been taken into use by the Roessingh rehabilitation centre in Enschede and the Sint Maartenskliniek in Nijmegen. In the coming weeks, the first patients in the Netherlands with, for example, a CVA or spinal cord injury, will practice with this unique rehabilitation robot in order to learn to walk better again. The novelty of the LOPES II is that the robot only supports the patient when needed during the walking practice. LOPES II was developed by a consortium consisting of the University of Twente and the mechatronic companies Moog and Demcon. Roessingh and Sint Maartenskliniek provided clinical input for the development process.

LOPES II is the redesigned successor to the LOPES I, which was developed by the University of Twente (Department of Biomedical Engineering, Prof.dr.ir. Herman van der Kooij). The has been used for research since 2007. In recent years, the consortium has worked hard to make the move to the clinic. With the installation of two systems, this has now been achieved.

Support only when needed

The robot supports the walking movement of people who are partially paralyzed following a stroke or spinal cord injury. LOPES holds the patient firmly around the pelvis, lower leg and foot. The device continuously measures how the patient walks and provides support when the patient's walking movement is performed incorrectly. During a training programme, this support is adjusted to the patient's walking ability by the physiotherapist. 'Support only when needed' is the starting point for the LOPES II. This encourages the patient to actively contribute to the walking, thereby promoting the recovery.

Rehabilitation centre wishes

The video will load shortly

The wishes of various rehabilitation centres are explicitly included in the design. Jos Meuleman, who works at Moog and is a PhD candidate at the University of Twente, explains: "LOPES II has been designed to quickly get patients in and out of the equipment. In addition, both therapist and patient receive feedback on performance during the training to facilitate individual tailoring. Patients also have considerable freedom of movement so that they can learn from their mistakes in a safe environment."

Enthusiastic responses

The therapists are enthusiastic about the possibilities offered by LOPES II. Hans Rietman, part-time professor of rehabilitation medicine and technology at the University of Twente and director of Roessingh Research and Development (RRD) in Enschede, says: "The robotic walking trainer, developed by means of intensive collaboration between clinic and technology, can, with a real human touch, help patients to walk independently step by step. It is a great asset for rehabilitation."

Bart Nienhuis, LOPES project manager at the Sint Maartenskliniek, adds: "We have already been using treadmill training since the 1990s and are pleased with the development of LOPES II that can take over the 'mechanical work' of a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist is not made redundant, but now has the opportunity to train intensively with individual tailoring by using this robot. The physiotherapy aimed at restoring , which we offer in the rehabilitation process, can be offered more intensively with the same manpower and for a wider audience. That makes this equipment so special for us."

In the coming months, the new robot will be used for research purposes and to examine how the robot can best be used for therapy.

Explore further: Robot legs helping stroke patients

Related Stories

Robot legs helping stroke patients

September 26, 2011
(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 ...

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) ...

Intelligent, affordable rehab robot to help stroke patients

March 27, 2012
Rehabilitation is crucial after a stroke. Yet patients don’t always do their exercises because they’re boring or difficult to do at home.

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

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.