Japan to field test rehabilitation robots

Feb 12, 2013 by Bob Yirka report
Japan to field test rehabilitation robots
Credit: CYBERDYNE Inc.

(Phys.org)—Ten hospitals in Japan are set to begin testing the use of a robot known as "Robot Suit HAL" starting next month. The purpose of the test will be to determine whether use of the robot is beneficial to patients needing physical therapy to regain normal use of their legs.

When people experience nerve or muscle damage to their lower backs or legs due to illness, stroke or injury, the normal course of treatment involves undergoing . Doing so causes the body to slowly repair the damage that has been done. In order for it to work however, the parts of the body that work properly have to coax the parts that do not into action, a laborious and quite often painful process. For this reason, professional physical therapists assist patients with the process to ensure that all of the body parts are exercised and to offer emotional support. But such experts can only help so much, and for that reason, robots have been developed to help. The thinking is that because they are sensor based and lack emotional involvement in the process, robots are likely to do a better job.

The Suit HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) has been designed and built by Cyberdyne Inc. with assistance from researchers around the country. It's described by its makers as a cyborg-type robot meant to supplement human muscles or to assist in their rehabilitation. Its part handrail, part sensor and part hydraulically controlled machinery. A patient stands between two handrails, holding on, while sensors are affixed to the skin of the legs. The sensors pick up nerve signals which are sent to an onboard computer. Those signals are then converted to action by small motors and power units that cause the muscle to be worked in the same way it would be were the person's body able to move it on their own. The end result is a direct connection between nerve signals and movement, which the researchers believe, will result in faster and perhaps better recovery for the patient.

Initial testing will involve 30 volunteer patients. Representatives for Cyberdyne have also announced that the company is in the process of making arrangements for testing the robot in hospitals in Europe as well.

Explore further: iRobot and Observatory in dispute over radio frequency for use with robot lawnmower

Related Stories

Japan firm unveils robot suit for nuclear workers

Nov 07, 2011

The Japanese maker of an exoskeleton robot suit to assist walking on Monday unveiled a model that could help nuclear workers weighed down by heavy anti-radiation vests in contaminated zones.

Japan's robot suit to bring hope to the disabled

Dec 12, 2010

Japan's Cyberdyne may share its name with the company responsible for nuclear destruction and the killer robots of the "Terminator" movie series, but the similarities end there.

Robot legs helping stroke patients

Sep 26, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- When it comes to recovering from a stroke, one of the major goals or rehabilitation is learning how to walk again. Researchers in the Netherlands are working with a prototype device called ...

Recommended for you

OrangeSec pair said Cortana visited Android

4 hours ago

Can, did, Cortana work on Android? A talked-about act at droidcon 2015: a presentation titled "Cracking Cortana." The OrangeSec team arrived at the Turin, Italy, event to show their work in a CortanaProxy ...

DOJ, FBI acknowledge flawed testimony from unit

7 hours ago

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in the FBI Laboratory's microscopic hair comparison unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against ...

Germany still has some way to go to 'smart factories'

7 hours ago

Collaborative robots and intelligent machinery may have wowed the crowds at this year's Hannover Messe, but experts see German industry as having some way to go towards incorporating them on factory floors ...

Quantum dot TVs are unveiled at China tech expo

19 hours ago

At this month's China Information Technology Expo (CITE) event, a headline-maker was the launch of quantum dot televisions, by QD Vision and Konka, the consumer electronics company. QD Vision's calling card ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

BabuTC
not rated yet Feb 13, 2013
It is a great invention. Thanks for sharing.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.