Relearning of lost functions in a patient depends on stimulation of desire to conquer the disability. The independent functioning of patients depends on intensity of treatment, task-specific exercises, active initiation of movements and motivation and feedback. Rehabilitation robots can assist with this task in multiple ways. Creating a gaming aspect to the rehabilitation process has brought a significant improvement in systems.
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As patients get stronger and more coordinated, a therapist can program the robot to let them bear more weight and move more freely in different directions, walking, kicking a ball, or even lunging to the side to catch one. The robot can follow the patient's lead as effortlessly as a ballroom dancer, its presence nearly undetectable until it senses the patient starting to drop and quickly stops a fall. In the later stages of physical therapy, the robot can nudge patients off balance to help them learn to recover.
According to Susan Eustis, principal author of the market research study, "Robotic therapy stimulus of upper limbs provides an example of the excellent motor recovery after stroke that can be achieved using rehabilitation robots." Exoskeleton systems provide wheelchair bound patients the ability to get out of a wheelchair
Berkley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory 260
Catholic University of America
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