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New approaches to restore mobility
According to the American Heart Association, 6.8M American adults have experienced a stroke, and another person has a stroke every 40 seconds. After a stroke, people often have weakness on one side that results in an irregular gait. Many patients have difficulty adjusting to a regular gait and suffer from impaired mobility. The need for physical therapy will grow in coming years as the world cares for an ageing population.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have created a cable-based gait rehabilitation device that could provide improved outcomes for physical therapy patients. This device consists of a harness that is worn by the user, a cable with an active braking system attached to the harness, and force sensors on the user’s foot. Sensors monitor the user’s gait, and the brake is applied to the cable to provide resistance on the swing of the weaker limb. This system trains the weaker leg, so that the user’s gait adjusts and, ultimately, the corrected gait persists after training with the device.
Katherine Kuchenbecker: http://haptics.seas.upenn.edu/
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