What it does
- Rehabilitation Plus Assist - A Minimal robotic rehabilitation device for conventional rehabilitation orthosis.
In aging societies, the number of walking disabilities, caused by stroke disease and paralysis or bone fracture, is increasing and in order to recover walking ability, rehabilitation is necessary. Currently a rehabilitation orthosis which fixes the knee movement to prevent buckling is used for severe patients, but this is not ideal rehabilitation since the muscle relies on the orthosis and does not need to support the weight of the body. Therefore several robotic rehabilitation devices have been developed to solve this problem. According to our advisory physical therapist, however, these robotic rehabilitation devices have not been used widely because of their cost, size and complexity, e.g. it takes too much time to prepare. Thus, based on the advice by the physical therapist “A robotic rehabilitation device might not need 100% power of knee”, we are developing a small and easy to use, minimal robotic rehabilitation device.
How it works
Raplus is attached to a conventional rehabilitation orthosis, and assists movement of the knee. The device is light-weight and small not only because of exploiting a orthosis, but also because of supporting only 50% of the maximum force a knee can generate. In the coming new version, we have introduced a new attachment mechanism which allows the device to attach and detach easily and save time for rehabilitation. While in use, it detects the walking pattern by using an accelerometer. In supporting phase, it generates assisting force to prevent knee buckling, and during the swing phase it compensates for friction and encourages natural swinging motion. In the future, we will provide a rehabilitation Social Network Service where you can upload your rehabilitation data or progress recorded by the device, and try to improve the quality of rehabilitation.
First of all, we had a meeting with the physical therapists to understand what kind of functions are needed in the actual rehabilitation. After that, we developed the first prototype based on the discussion and confirmed its performance with basic experiments. Experiments were also conducted with the physical therapists and we got several feedback from them about way to attach a orthosis and usability issues. Currently we are working on the second prototype to fix these problems and plan to carry out experiments with the cooperating hospital.