Treadmill training with body weight support has promise in the
rehabilitation of individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury.
Currently, therapists manually assist the patient during gait training
or mechanical orthoses drive the patient's legs. Manual training
provided by physical therapists is demanding and labor intensive, while
mechanical/robotic assist systems are expensive, immobile, and complex
to setup and utilize by therapists. A simple system capable of providing
gait training with affordable expense and ease of use is desirable.
Implementation of the device would reduce costs in spinal cord injury
rehabilitation, reduce the workload of physical therapists, and increase
availability of rehabilitation to a greater population of spinal cord
injury subjects. Goals for the assistive device were achieved by
selecting pneumatic muscles as actuators based on their intrinsic
properties: compliance, low mass, and ability to provide sufficient
force. An assistive device was designed to provide the movements of the
limbs during treadmill training.
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