There are many robots built currently, some geared for general surgery, others come in all sizes and are more specialized for procedures on hips, knees, shoulders, or the spine.
FREMONT, CA: Researchers at Columbia University have built a robotic device that can help people with spinal cord injuries to improve their trunk control, enabling them to sit more stably and expand their range of motion while sitting. The device comprises a motorized belt that attaches to the torso, and which puts forces as the users deal with upper body movements. The device is determined to lessen falls and better movement capabilities in the patients suffering spinal cord injuries, who are typically wheelchair users.
Patients who are going through spinal cord injuries struggle to carry out activities while being on the wheelchairs. One such example has the possibility to fall off while performing everyday tasks like bending or reaching. Bettering trunk control in such patients can allow them to increase their stability and reduce their chance of falling.
The Columbia researchers have called their device the Trunk-Support Trainer (TruST), and its primary work is to train a user to expand their active workspace while sitting. TruST is specifically designed for the people who have spinal cord injuries and who are typically wheelchair users. It is observed that TruST not only prevents patients from falling, but also increases trunk movements beyond the patients’ postural control, or balance limits.
This structure comprises a belt that ties around the torso of the patient, and this belt is affixed to motorized cables, which can administer various forces to it as the patient performs movements. This device helps the patient to act without using their hands or any additional stability.
Until now, the research group has tested their device in a pilot study with five patients who are suffering from spinal cord injury. IN this study, the patients moved their upper body as far as possible in eight different directions without taking the help of their hands. While the patients use the system, they expanded their reach, increasing their sitting workplace by approximately 25 percent.