The goal of the Locomotion Lab at the Sensory Motor Performance Program is to study ways to help enhance locomotion after neurological injury in humans. Utilizing cutting edge technology to meet this goal, the lab recently acquired a robotic gait trainer called the Lokomat®. The Lokomat is a motor driven exoskeleton device that employs a body weight support suspension system and treadmill.
Attached to the lower limbs, the Lokomat moves the patient's legs through position controlled trajectories that mimic normal human gait patterns. This is accomplished by utilizing high quality computer-controlled motors that are precisely synchronized with the speed of the treadmill. The hip and knee joint angles are controlled in real time by software to achieve a kinematically correct stepping behaviors.
Each of the four motor-driven joints is individually controlled to correspond precisely to the desired joint angle trajectories. This system assures a precise match between the speed of the limb trajectory and the treadmill. In addition, sensors in the motors provide an indirect indicator of the amount of effort the patient is generating to achieve walking in an upright posture. Furthermore, this automated process relieves therapists of the manual labor required during manual assisted treadmill gait therapy. Therefore, the training sessions can be longer and more repeatable.
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