Monty K Reed (Dr Steve Stiens and Dr Karen Petersen) Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and Department of Biology, University of Washington, Box: 355320, Seattle, WA 98195-5320

Reprinted from the NCUR web listing at Dominican University

Rehabilitation medicine patients and practitioners have benefited from the use of fixed based robotic rehabilitation machines as well as non-fixed based non-powered orthosis. Weight supported ambulation has been helpful for non complete spinal cord injury (SCI) patients in improving their walking ability and improved overall health as a result of passive physical therapy. Combining these therapies and the various mechanisms of operation they entail could result in a Robotic Rehabilitation and Access Suit Exoskeleton (RRASE). Based on what was learned developing the Semi Autonomous Powered Exoskeleton Reciprocating Gait Orthosis (SAPERGO) we have improved the design and developed the LIFESUIT (LS) 13 series SAPERGO. A test bench model was developed to record human gait data and play it back through micro controller to move the joints of a robotic brace, including the ankle, knee and hip joints. A full-scale wearable robotic suit LS13B was constructed tested and demonstrated at the RobOlympics event in San Francisco in June of 2006. LS13B was also outfitted with upper body support for shoulder and wrist support and robotic hands for gripping a weight lifting barbell. The LS13B was able to lift 500 pounds, walk at 2.5 mph, and jump six inches off of the ground while being worn by a human operator. LS14 is the latest prototype we have built. Mechanically it has only a left leg brace that I have worn while testing the human gait simulation software I have written. LS14 can hop. Ongoing research will include completing LS14 and refining the balance software and hardware of the SAPERGO. Experimental protocols will precede any medical trials. The SAPERGO must be able to walk and balance unmanned before medical trials will be forthcoming.

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