Rehab centers help improve patient mobility with Hocoma's robotic gait-training system

Kessler Foundation and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation are reportedly the first rehabilitation organizations in the United States to select and utilize the LokomatPro V6, an advanced service robot from Swiss-based rehabilitation-robot developer Hocoma.

Kessler Foundation and Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (West Orange, NJ, USA) are reportedly the first rehabilitation organizations in the United States to select and utilize the LokomatPro V6, an advanced service robot from Swiss-based rehabilitation-robot developer Hocoma (Volketswil, Switzerland). The robotic training system is designed to improve mobility in patients with spinal cord injury, brain injury, and other neurological disorders.

The LokomatPro assistive robot system integrates a treadmill, harness, robotic leg supports, and augmented feedback. The patient is harnessed within the robotic exoskeleton over the treadmill and, once the machine is powered, leg supports move the individual's legs in a walking motion. Augmented feedback enables users to visualize themselves walking in virtual environments, such as in a park or on a beach, a new feature designed to motivate and improve performance.

The rehabilitation system's height, walking speed, and loading on the feet are all adjustable. Sensory feedback enables the system to adjust to the degree of assistance required by each individual. Lokomat has been on the market since 2001, but the LokomatPro model is the first to incorporate touch-screen controls and upgradable hardware and software that are expected to increase the system's capabilities.

"We will be studying [the robotic system's] role in helping to prevent secondary complications of paralysis by improving strength, mobility, respiratory and bladder function, circulation and bone density," notes Dr. Steven Kirshblum, medical director and director of spinal cord injury services at Kessler Institute.

Researchers at Kessler will use the LokomatPro's investigative tools to facilitate the collection of more quantifiable data about the recovery of function using this robotic device. Gail Forrest, PhD, interim director of human performance and movement analysis research at Kessler Foundation, says that sharing the results of Kessler's research with Hocoma could "potentially lead to further modifications or developments of the system's hardware and software, enable more rapid adaptations and enhance its applications in gait training research and rehabilitation."

SOURCE: Kessler Foundation

-- Posted by Vision Systems Design

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