Whenever someone is doing lower body rehab for walking, the image that comes to mind is usually the same. Two long parallel bars, physical therapists, and a person supporting themselves using the bars. This type of rehabilitation can work but is also very exhausting and can require more than one therapist. Another recent option was developed in South Korea with the Walkbot. A gait training rehabilitation robot that requires only one physical therapist.
Walkbot can improve the gait rehab process by reducing exertion that is not needed. The patient can then better focus on the areas of their body that’s needed. Software used with Walkbot can also give valuable data and feedback that the therapist can use.
The main parts that make up the Walkbot are exoskeleton legs, a treadmill, and harness. Handrails are mounted on both sides of the treadmill for added stability and a feeling of security. A ramp located at the treadmill is also in place for wheelchairs. Finally monitors for both the patient and therapist make up the system.
To begin a therapy session, the therapist first enters the patient’s information. Walkbot then adjusts itself to this information and the exoskeleton legs lengthen or shorten to the patient. The patient is then positioned onto the treadmill and the harness is attached. Then the patient is lifted up until their feet are off the treadmill and the exoskeleton legs are attached.
Now the patient starts their walking motion while in the air. The exoskeleton legs guide the patient’s legs in a walking motion. After some time has passed the patient is lowered onto the treadmill while still in motion. Even though the exoskeleton legs help move the patient, the patient still uses their muscles during the session. A monitor in front of the patient lets the patient see themselves using the Walkbot. While another monitor gives the therapist data and feedback.
Right now Walkbot looks to be used exclusively in South Korea. But is the technology provides positive results, than I can see it spreading to other countries. Watch the video below to see a Walkbot session. For more information visit www.Walkbot.co.kr/xe/eng_main.