Automating Activity-Based Interventions: The Role of RoboticsBy Hidler, Joseph; Hamm, Larry F.; Lichy, Alison; Groah, Suzanne L. ; Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 337-344
Publication Date: 2008
Paper discusses the use of robotic devices to deliver intensive, activity-based therapies that may have significant exercise benefits for people with neurological injuries. Robotic trainers add a component of safety for the patients and therapist that allows individuals to train at higher intensity levels for longer durations. Three studies are described investigating metabolic and cardiac responses in spinal-cord injury (SCI) during robotic-assisted gait training using the Lokomat, an exoskeleton that attaches to the outside of the user’s legs and assists with the aid of small direct-current motors in ambulating on the treadmill. The Locomat control software allows for variable assistance from full passive mode to no active assistance. A study with 12 individuals with SCI compared the effect of training using the Lokomat to that using therapist-assisted training, showing that although similar muscle activation patterns and metabolic responses can be achieved with the two methods, if too much robotic assistance is provided, the patient may allow the robot to assume a greater workload. The findings of a study investigating metabolic and cardiac responses during Lokomat training in a 25-year-old female patient with chronic SCI indicated that even in motor complete SCI, significant cardiac responses can be elicited. A third, ongoing, study to quantify the effects of 6 months of robot-assisted treadmill training on selected measures of fitness in persons with SCI is also highlighted.
Assistive Products Discussed: LOKOMATPRO (VERSIONS 5 & 6)
VA Rehabilitation Research & Development Service (Web Site: http://www.rehab.research.va.gov )
Link to text: http://www.rehab.research.va.gov/jour/08/45/2/hidler.html