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Researcher Develops Robotic System to Correct Walking Gaits

Cara Lewis, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, Sargent College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences of Boston University, has built a robotic system to correct the walking gait of a healthy person, thereby averting hip impairments. Lewis has stated that her mission was to develop a system that can profoundly prevent osteoarthritis.

Robotic Exoskeleton

This robotic system is operated by compressed air, and it features an exoskeletal support attached to the hips and waist of the user. The person should walk on a special treadmill which includes two plates for determining the force exerted by each foot individually. The movements of the person are captured by the motion-capture cameras along with the help of reflective markers attached to the user’s body. Muscle movements of the person are determined by the electrodes.

A model of the person’s walk was then developed by Lewis with the help of a computer, followed by the determination of the right amount of force and where to exert this exact force. When the person resumes his walk, Lewis will push a button at an exact moment of gait mistake to transfer air from the compressed air-filled tank into the activators on the exoskeleton covering for modifying the person’s movements.

Presently, Lewis deploys this robotic system only for research. However, it is expected that it will soon be released for medical centers.

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