Robotics company Yaskawa Electric has developed a device that aims to help stroke victims with their recovery period. The Robo-boot is an Ankle Walking Assist Device that “shows” patients how to regain their walking skills by rotating the device up and down when they walk during therapy.
Strokes are not limited to the elderly, and people who have experienced them know that one of the most difficult things to do is to learn to walk properly again, and verbally telling people to do so is not the most effective way. The motorised leg brace can be strapped to the patient’s shoes and clothes with velcro and is connected to a waist-mounted battery pack through a cable. It has actuators that show them how to properly move by rotating the device up and down as they walk. Stroke patients normally have difficulty properly lifting the tips of their toes which causes some to trip and fall down, which of course worsens their motor problems. The sensor at the bottom of the device tells the patient if he/she is walking correctly.
The device, developed together with Tokyo-based Shibaura Institute of Technology and Hiroshima University’s Space Bio Laboratories, is now being used in clinical trials for the stroke victims’ rehabilitation. This is part of the company’s “2015 Vision,” which aims to help the elderly in countries with low birth rates and environmentally friendly resources. They were also the company that developed the Motoman robotics used by the car industry. As Japan’s population continues to grey, companies like Yaskawa have started focusing on developing products that would help the elderly be more mobile and assist them in their day-to-day activities.
[ via Rocket News 24 ]