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Robotic Motivation

November 17, 2016

A human-powered robotic exoskeleton could help stroke patients stay motivated during rehab.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Self-powered stroke rehab. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Robotic devices that move stroke patients’ impaired limbs for them can help them regain function. But because the robot does much of the initial work, people sometimes slack off unintentionally during rehab. Now, researchers are testing a wearable robotic device that’s powered by the user’s own body to cut down on slacking. University of Michigan biomedical engineer Edward Washabaugh explains.

EDWARD WASHABAUGH (University of Michigan):

The device links the intact arm to the impaired arm. So even if the impaired arm cannot move very much on its own, we can then have the arm that is unimpaired do the movement for them.

HIRSHON:

But unlike an externally powered robot, the intact arm will eventually tire out, forcing the impaired arm to step in and assist in the movement. Washabaugh presented the research at the 2016 meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

Story by Susanne Bard