Researchers at MIT in the US are building a ‘robotic gym’ designed to improve movement in stroke patients’ legs.
Clinical trials have already shown that therapeutic robotic arms attached to patients’ arms can help them recover faster.
The team has now created an Anklebot, which fits around the leg in a brace to improve the flexibility of a paralysed ankle. The Anklebot improves balance and helps to prevent the falls that are common when stroke patients are left with limited mobility.
As with the robotic arm, a video screen prompts the Anklebot’s user to perform an exercise. If this does not occur, the machine moves the limb. If the patient then starts to gain control of the limb, the robot provides adjustable levels of guidance and assistance.
The researchers are now building robotic systems focusing on the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand.