A2: Assistive Technology & Wearable Devices

WEARABLE ROBOT LEG FOR STROKE REHABILITATION

Raymond Tong1 , Ling Fung Yeung1, Corinna Ockenfeld2, Hoi Wah Wai2

1The Chinse Univesrity of Hong Kong, Hong Kong;
2The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

This Wearable Robot Leg is a light weight design and convenient to use for stroke and muscle weakness patients.  It is an intelligent system with motion and force sensors to identify the user’s intention to walk stairs and adapt to different walking speeds. Stroke patients underwent a 20-session robotic training, the results after the clinical trial showed improvement in the lower limb functions, and an increase in walking speed and distance.
Drop-foot and knee hyper-extension are gait abnormality that are common among stroke survivors. Patients show muscle weakness at the ankle dorsiflexors and knee control have experienced difficulty in lifting up the forefoot, resulting in foot dragging on the ground during walking, which would increase chance of fall and ankle sprain. Conventional gait rehabilitation consists of high intensity and repetitive walking exercises, which is physically demanding even for the physiotherapists. Stroke patients with leg problem could wear orthosis to passively support during walking. However, orthosis has limited therapeutic effect and imposes undesirable restriction to the joint range of motion.
In view of the above issues, we developed an interactive exoskeleton ankle robot which can assist stroke patients in gait rehabilitation by integrating electric motor, gear transmission system, accelerometer and pressure sensors. In our pilot clinical trial results, 20 chronic stroke survivors had 20-session robotic leg training and showed remarkable functional improvement in clinical scores (35% improved in FAC, 55% improved in FMA, 55% improved in MAS and 40% improved in BBS), and improved the walking speed and longer walking distance.
A live demo will be conducted in the oral presentation, to let the audiences to experience the function of this wearable robot leg during walking.

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