Posted by: robotnews | March 29, 2007

LOKOMAT. the HOPE.

Tan Xie Xing U046240M

A diving accident had nearly caused a 13 yr old girl to lose her both legs. Her legs couldnt move for five weeks. And when the doctors predicted that she had only 10% to 30% of walking two years after the injury, it was too much for that young and sporty girl to handle….

Just when she was feeling depressed, her HOPE came. The LOKOMAT. the beacon in the sea of darkness.

That young girl was trained with LOKOMAT for eight weeks. This Swiss-manufactured exoskeleton robot delivers power to her hip and knee joints, and strapped her legs onto the machine. She was then suspended over a treadmill, which her repetitive walking (training) takes place.

8 weeks past. Guess what?! That little girl was able to walk 250 feet! Amazing ya? LOKOMAT has proven the statistic wrong. LOKOMAT had strengthen her legs. LOKOMAT had removed that girl from the wheel chair. LOKOMAT has became her saviour.

what is LOKOMAT?

Lokomat is actually a robotic gait orthosis and it is used together with Lokobasis (body weight support system) and a Woodway treadmill to perform rehabilitation to people with paralysis, especially those with partial spinal cord injuries. The Lokomat would move the patient’s legs in a walking pattern repetitively and this kind of training, in time, can assist patients to regain his/her functional walking patterns.

How does it operate?

During the training, the patient’s hip and knee joint ankles would move and be guided according to a pre-programmed physiological gait pattern.. Each of the four joints is constantly monitored by the Lokomat’s software to ensure that they are precisely held to the predefined gait pattern. The computer controlled guidance also allows individual adjustments of different gait parameters. You may like to refer to the below clip for better understanding. :>

Other benefits

Besides rehab purposes, there are several other benefits as well.

1) Regular therapy can prevent limbs from deteriorating, by strengthening muscles and bones of the lower limbs. Also, weight-bearing exercise helps individuals with paralysis to ward off the threat of osteoporosis.

2) It can help to relief the therapist. Instead of conventionally carry the patient to walk on the walking bars with three other helpers, the new robot would only require one assistant to monitor and run the machine. As such, with the help of rehab machines, the therapist would be leaving soon.

3) It is also believed that Lokomat is useful for patients with other neurological diagnoses such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and Parkinson.

LOKOMAT is not an antidote that can cure paralysis in one day. However, LOKOMAT gives the hope to people. And it is through consistent and repetitive training before wonders can happen. :>

====================Reference=================

Lokomat, hocoma, Rehab Continuum Report,

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Responses

  1. Interesting rehab robot. From the video, it seems that the walking speed is a bit fast though. Hope that can be varied… haha…

    Perhaps this is better than the KineAssist that was seen earlier as it takes up less space. But then, it does not have the similar flexibility of KineAssist to train different degree of motion of the legs (ie sideways). Perhaps that will be possible next time…

  2. [forgot name.. opps. repost]
    Choo Liang Kwang U046028R

    Interesting rehab robot. From the video, it seems that the walking speed is a bit fast though. Hope that can be varied… haha…

    Perhaps this is better than the KineAssist that was seen earlier as it takes up less space. But then, it does not have the similar flexibility of KineAssist to train different degree of motion of the legs (ie sideways). Perhaps that will be possible next time…

  3. Koh Yew Tong U036316U

    The rehab robot seems to be very helpful people with paralysis. But i foresee a problem. Since the Lokomat would move the patient leg’s in certain pattern, the patient might not be comfortable in accordance to the movement. Maybe it would be better for the user to be able to adjust the movement to his/her comfort.

  4. More features can be added on the LOKOMAT, i feel.

    Besides the walking motion, the LOKOMAT can simulate squating motion or climbing motion so that it can work well on other leg muscles as well.

    Koh Ling Ying
    U046245W

  5. Command from Jin yunye U037842W

    My question is, what if the patient does not have enough muscle strength to move their lower limb? Will this system only guide the patient or will it also assist them in form of strength? Also, how effective it is when the patient just need to enhance the muscle strength for recovery purpose? Will this system still be applicable?

  6. Yeah, this is quite the amazing machine! I first learned about it in a kinesiology course I took.
    Apparently this machine can train a person to rebuild the motor signals responsible for the walking motion. The guided movements strengthen the connection between the motor neurons and the muscles.

    human body is the most amazing machine by itself. We can learn so much from it.

    Eugene Peng
    NT061399W

  7. hey.. thanks for the response…

    Yunye.. in regard to your questions, Lokomat does not only guide. It also assist them in the form of strength. In other words, there will be a control on their assistance.

    As for the effectiveness, i think it depends on the progress of the patieent as well.

    And ya.. i agreed that there is a lot of improvements to be made on the Lokomat. We shall wait for the better version LOKOMAT to serve the manking!

    Tan Xie Xing
    U046240M


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