Heike Vallery, researcher at the BioMechanical Engineering Department, has been working with Dutch and Swiss scientists and doctors on an experimental robot training environment to help patients rehabilitating from spinal injuries or a cerebral haemorrhage. This summer they published their findings in Science Translational Medicine.
It is often a major challenge for patients rehabilitating from certain illnesses or injuries to handle gravity when walking. Heike Vallery and a team of researchers developed a robot training environment that ‘conquers’ gravity and shows that individually tailored forces, applied to the torso through a harness, can help rehabilitating patients to walk well again.
Now that the scientists have a better idea of how to apply the forces to the body to teach people how to walk better again, they are working on an apparatus that should make the implementation of their findings possible: the new rehabilitation robot RYSEN. The robot is a follow-up apparatus that TU Delft is developing with the Dutch firm Motek. A prototype of this robot has already been installed in the gait lab at the 3mE faculty in Delft (there is another one in Sion, Switzerland). Together with post-doctorate researcher Michiel Plooij, Heike Vallery is involved in the entire development of the new robot (concept, hardware and control technology).