Rehabilitation Robotics

Rehabilitation Robotics gives an introduction and overview of all areas of rehabilitation robotics, perfect for anyone new to the field. Rehabilitation robotics is a field of research dedicated to understanding and augmenting rehabilitation through the application of robotic devices. It is an automatically operated machine that is designed to improve movement in persons with impaired physical functioning. It also summarizes available robot technologies and their application to different pathologies for skilled researchers and clinicians. It affects a patient’s well-being, independence, and mobility. Recovery is mainly dependent on the intensity and frequency of therapeutic intervention.

Robotic rehabilitation promises to ease the stress on the physiotherapy staff and control expenses while refining patients’ quality of life.

Physical and occupational therapy robotics are changing the approach to therapy for people with neurological conditions. Rehabilitation robotics includes the development of robotic devices tailored for assisting different sensorimotor functions (e.g. arm, hand, leg, ankle), development of different schemes of assisting therapeutic training, and assessment of sensorimotor performance (ability to move) of the patient; here, robots are used mainly as therapy aids instead of assistive devices. The plan of care for spinal cord injury rehabilitation is always unique to the individual’s goals and needs. Robotic therapy may not be indicated for every patient with a spinal cord injury.

There are two main types of rehabilitation robots. The first type is an assistive robot that substitutes for lost limb movements. An example is the Manus ARM (assistive robotic manipulator), which is a wheelchair-mounted robotic arm that is controlled using a chin switch or other input device. The second type of rehabilitation robot is a therapy robot, which is sometimes called a rehabilitator. Research in neuroscience has shown that the brain and spinal cord retain a remarkable ability to adapt, even after injury, through the use of practiced movements.

Rehabilitation robotics should be designed to help patients undertake repetitive tasks and exercises for recovery and daily life. These systems can also gather quantitative data about a patient’s performance of the patient and track their progress or condition. Robotic rehabilitation systems can also help treat children suffering from cerebral palsy (more on that below) and adults with coordination disorders.

Rehabilitation robots are thus an ideal means to complement conventional therapy in the clinic and bear great potential for continued therapy and assistance at home using simpler devices. Rehabilitation using robotics is generally well tolerated by patients and has been found to be an effective adjunct to therapy in individuals suffering from motor impairments, especially due to stroke. The major limiting factor in the development of rehabilitation robots is that researchers do not know what exactly needs to happen in order for the nervous system to adapt to overcome a physical impairment.

 

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