Robotic rehab could change the lives of stroke survivors

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Robotic rehab could change the lives of stroke survivors

(CBS NEWS/ WKRG) Robots could one day play a major role in helping patients rehab from serious injuries or illness.

Researchers at Arizona State University are developing wearable exoskeletons to help patients during rehab and recovery. 

One of the designs involves an arm brace which uses air pressure to assist movements.

“It becomes rigid and stiff in the back and supports the elbow joint,” said researcher Carly Thalman.

Because the soft machines are mobile and can be worn anywhere, researchers say the devices could provide around the clock support speeding up recovery.

The technology was initially designed to help stroke survivors and Parkinson’s patients regain mobility, but assistant professor Wenlong Zhang says the student created devices keep evolving.

“What we’re developing has a lot of other applications,” said Zhang, who demonstrated a “third-arm”  robot, which was first designed to help patients using a wheelchair or walker.

“The external arm can help them open a door or hold a cup or something like that,” Zhang explained.

The wearable robots are giving researchers a better understanding of human movement, and the technology could eventually be a standard part of medical care.

The robots are currently being tested with stroke survivors in Arizona. Researchers hope to expand their testing to more patients in the next two years.

(CBS NEWS/ WKRG) Robots could soon play a major role in helping patients rehab from serious injuries or illnesses.

Researchers at Arizona State University are developing a new generation of robotic exoskeletons to rehab patients.

The advanced wearable robots atach around the shoulder, leg, or ankle and can help a patient lift objects, stand, walk and balance.

“Right now it feels like it’s pushing my leg as I move forward,” said reseracher Sai Sridar as he demonstrated and exoskeleton designed for the leg.

Coming up tonight on News 5 at 5 p.m., WKRG’s Jessica Taloney will show you how this technology could be used to help stroke survivors, Multiple Sclerosis patients and others.

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