IIT-Jodhpur researchers design robotic trainers for lower limb rehabilitation

IIT-Jodhpur researchers design robotic trainers for lower limb rehabilitation
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Jodhpur have designed robotic trainers which can be used in physiotherapy to treat lower limb disabilities. According to the team, most existing robotic systems treat patients by performing motions only in the sagittal plane - the imaginary plane that divides the body into the left and right parts.

For complete limb movement, sagittal movement is not sufficient and movements in transverse (upper and lower body) and coronal (front and back) planes are also essential, they said.

The team has proposed a robot manipulator arrangement that is capable of providing motion to the ankle in all three planes -- sagittal, transverse and coronal plane.

"Complete rehabilitation is possible if the correct sequence of therapies is executed. Robots will be able to do it without getting tired. The robotic trainer we have designed will help provide physiotherapy to paralytic patients, and for those who have spinal cord injuries that have disrupted their lower limb functions," said Jayanta Kumar Mohanta, Assistant Professor, IIT, Jodhpur.

The robotic trainer is a brace or a wearable device like an exoskeleton that supports the leg. It has been provided with a Cartesian (3-directional) parallel manipulator to perform the required limb therapeutic motions. The design will ensure a large workspace to execute the required range of motion therapies.


"The usefulness of the designed stationary trainer was confirmed using computer-based simulations along with a motion control scheme by performing various clinically suggested therapeutic passive range of motions.

"The design could execute important essential rehabilitation therapeutic movements like abduction (the motion of a limb or appendage away from the midline of the body), adduction (the motion of a limb or appendage towards the midline of the body), flexion (bending movement), and extension of the hip and knee joints," he added.

The trainer proposed by the IIT Jodhpur team is conceptually simple and has a modular mechanical configuration that is easy to fix and use.

Furthermore, since only linear actuators are used for the hip and knee motions, the robot itself is stable, safe and robust during use.

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