Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology in Jodhpur have designed robotic trainers that can be used for physiotherapy applications to treat lower extremity disabilities, a common problem in India. Lower limb disabilities are caused by age-related ailments, physical deformities, strokes, poliomyelitis, and accidents, among others. The 2011 Census of India found that there are five million people with locomotor disabilities in India.
People with these disabilities seek lower limb rehabilitation, especially for gait recovery. However, rehabilitation is often time-consuming and requires multiple physical therapists. Lately, researchers have been evaluating the benefits of robotic devices for lower extremity rehabilitation.
Robotic rehabilitation is beneficial because the therapist only needs to monitor and set up the device. Researchers at IIT Jodhpur recently designed robotic trainers that could perform lower extremity rehabilitation in three different planes.
The study describing the findings was published in the International Journal of Advanced Robotic Systems.
Most existing robotic systems perform movements only in the sagittal plane, which is the imaginary plane that divides the body into left and right parts. However, sagittal movement is not sufficient for full limb movement.
How is the newly designed robotic system different from existing ones?
Therefore, robotic systems must also guarantee movements in transverse and coronal planes. The transverse plane refers to the upper and lower parts of the body, and the coronal plane refers to the anterior and posterior parts of the body. As part of the new study, the researchers have proposed a robotic manipulation arrangement that is capable of providing movement to the ankle in all three planes, namely sagittal, transverse and coronal.
“The robotic trainer has a manipulator that can work on the x, y, and z axes. Other than that it has active ankle control. So general 4-axis control,” said Dr. Jayant Kumar Mohanta, one of the paper’s authors. live PAA.
How does the robotic trainer work?
According to the study, the robotic trainer is a brace or wearable device such as an exoskeleton that supports the leg and is provided with a three-dimensional Cartesian or parallel manipulator to perform the necessary therapeutic limb movements in transverse/horizontal and sagittal/longitudinal planes. . Robotic trainers have been designed in such a way as to provide a larger space to execute the required range of motion therapies.
What movements does the new robotic trainer execute?
The researchers used computer simulations to test the effectiveness of the robotic trainer. They found that the trainer’s design allowed it to execute essential rehabilitative therapeutic movements such as abduction, adduction, flexion, and extension of the hip and knee joints. Abduction is the movement of a limb or appendage away from the midline of the body, adduction is the movement of a limb or appendage toward the midline of the body, and flexion refers to the flexing movement of the body.
In a statement released by IIT Jodhpur, the research leader said the robotic trainer will help provide physiotherapy to paralyzed patients and those who have lower extremity disabilities due to spinal cord injuries.
Furthermore, the robot is safe, stable, and robust during use because only linear actuators are used for hip and knee movements.
The newly designed stationary robotic trainer helps to perform rehabilitation therapies for the lower extremities at the knee and hip joints in sitting and lying positions, according to the study. The robotic trainer can perform therapeutic movements for one leg at a time.
The system can easily perform combined movements such as abduction, adduction, flexion, and extension of the hip and knee joints, and is able to adapt according to the characteristics of the legs, the authors noted in the study.