Postural Robotics Lab - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Postural Robotics Lab

KineAssist® walking training, side view

KineAssist® walking training, side view

KineAssist® waking training, front view

KineAssist® walking training, front view

KineAssist® design concept drawing

KineAssist® design concept drawing

The Postural Robotics Lab’s focus is on the neuromuscular control mechanisms underlying the simultaneous control of walking and balance. A key interest is people with neurologic impairments (stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury etc.). This research utilizes novel robotics tools to investigate how people learn to maintain balance during challenging overground mobility activities such as walking over rough terrain, walking while being pushed and shoved, and walking up and down stairs without handrails to assist with balance. Other standing activities such as sit-to-stand are also important. Ultimately, this work will result in novel rehabilitation intervention protocols that will fine tune the impaired neuromuscular control system so that people at risk for falls will develop alternate control strategies that are fall-resistant.

The postural robotics lab is the home of the KineAssist® robot, a device development made possible in part by the department of commerce, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. It was designed and built by the startup company ChicagoPT, LLC, (now called KineaDesign). The KineAssist focuses on increasing the level of challenge to a patient's ability to maintain balance during training during standing activities and also on maintaining direct involvement of a physical therapist (rather than attempting robotic replacement). We are currently focusing on the acceptance of this new tool by therapists, the ease of use of the system and the unique value it brings to therapeutic recovery.


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