Head of the university’s Medical and Rehabilitation Robotics Research Group, Professor Shane Xie and other researchers have developed rehabilitation devices designed to keep patients interested in the rehab process.
“The main goal is not to play the game but to stimulate the patient’s interest so while they are playing the computer game they gain muscle strength,” says Xie.
The devices are wearable exoskeleton devices for gait rehabilitation, one for upper limb rehabilitation, and a wearable ankle robot to rehabilitate ankle sprains.
Clinical trials of the devices are still under way, and the next stage will involve testing the devices on stroke patients.
“Our research is targeted at people whose strength and coordination has been affected by amputation, stroke, cerebral palsy, or aging. We believe appropriate mechanical assistance can not only restore function but enhance performance beyond typical human limits,” he says.
Xie says even years after the event, someone who has had a stroke can get positive results from rehabilitation.
“Even 20 years after a stroke a person can gain mobility through rehabilitation exercises,” he says.
Both Xie and Chair in Mechatronics Professor Peter Xu will speak tonight as part of the Faculty of Engineering’s Technologies for Health research event.
Xu will give his inaugural lecture, Mechatronics for Innovative Smart Medical Devices, while Xie will discuss the rehab devices and some of his other research projects – if you’re interested, the event starts at 5:30 at Building 401 at Auckland University, 20 Symonds Street.