Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Robot suit helps paraplegic patients

Date:
May 19, 2014
Source:
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum
Summary:
For most paraplegic patients, being able to walk again remains a dream. The HAL robot suit can help them regain a certain degree of mobility and activity. A team of experts has been testing the exoskeleton that was originally developed in Japan since 2011, and have had excellent results. Paraplegia is essentially the result of damaged nerve structures in the spine. In order to perform a movement, the brain sends out a signal via the spinal cord and its surrounding nerves to a muscle. Due to his injury, a paraplegic patient's muscles operate with weakened signals, and the signal does not arrive in the leg or in the arm.

For most paraplegic patients, being able to walk again remains a dream. The HAL robot suit can help them regain a certain degree of mobility and activity. An expert team at the Centre for Neurorobotic Movement Training (ZNB) in Bochum has been testing the exoskeleton that was originally developed in Japan since 2011, with excellent results.

Weakened signals

Paraplegia is essentially the result of damaged nerve structures in the spine. In order to perform a movement, the brain sends out a signal via the spinal cord and its surrounding nerves to a muscle -- e.g.one in the arm or in the leg. Due to his injury, a paraplegic patient's muscles operate with weakened signals. As a result, the signal does not arrive in the leg or in the arm.

Activating residual functions of muscles

This is where the HAL robot suit comes into play: it picks up the weakened signals through sensors that are attached to the patient's skin and sets the motors in the pelvic and knee-joint regions in motion. Thus, HAL takes over locomotion on the patient's behalf by connecting directly to the patient's nervous system. "This is how we wish to activate and foster the residual function of the muscles and, ultimately, to help the patients attain better activity levels," explains Professor Schildhauer, Medical Director at the university hospital Berufsgenossenschaftliches Universitδtsklinikum Bergmannsheil.

Better performance in everyday life

The expert team uses the clinical trials at the ZNB to determine, among other things, how much training is required in the best possible scenario and how long the training effects will or will not last. They have implemented a three-month training cycle, with five sessions per week. With excellent results: "Our patients attain activity levels which improve their ability to navigate around their everyday life and their surroundings. Thus, they continue to train their movement routine every day," explains Professor Schildhauer. A patient who had been permanently confined to a wheelchair, for example, will be able to walk short distances with the aid of a walking frame after a three-month training period.

Unique in Germany

In Germany, Bergmannsheil is the only hospital where the robot suit is being tested. In Japan, similar suits are being utilised in some 200 geriatric rehab centres. The long-term objective is to launch HAL in the German market so that it can be used as a therapy instrument to help as many people as possible. However, insurance companies will not incorporate the therapy into their clearing system until well-founded data are available, which will only be the case once further trials have been conducted.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "Robot suit helps paraplegic patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519092251.htm>.
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. (2014, May 19). Robot suit helps paraplegic patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519092251.htm
Ruhr-Universitaet-Bochum. "Robot suit helps paraplegic patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519092251.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) — Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins