Novel Perturbation-Based Approaches Using Pelvis Exoskeleton Robot in Gait and Balance Training After Stroke
We have developed an innovative admittance-controlled Balance Assessment Robot that enables movement of a pelvis in all six degrees-of-freedom while a subject is walking on an instrumented treadmill. Further, we have developed a number of training approaches that are targeted to diminish specific deficiencies like gait asymmetry, insufficient weight-bearing, reduced push-off and poor dynamic balancing capabilities. A novel approach of precisely-timed push-like exertion of forces to the pelvis, performed similarly to physiotherapists that physically manipulate pelvis to indirectly modify trajectories of pelvis and legs of trainees, was developed. The developed approach was implemented in a series of case studies involving high-functioning stroke subjects in the early chronic stage. The results of prolonged training with high volume, specificity and intensity brought about significant changes in the balancing capabilities as well as in overall walking performance.