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Thread: 'RiceWrist' robot helps spinal-cord injury victim (w/ video)

  1. #1

    'RiceWrist' robot helps spinal-cord injury victim (w/ video)

    'RiceWrist' robot helps spinal-cord injury victim (w/ video)

    That was last April. By October, after months of therapy, Childers had recovered enough to walk -- though slowly -- into Professor Marcia O'Malley's basement laboratory on the Rice campus. Here he took part in a single-patient trial of a robotic device that advanced his recovery and gave hope to those who suffer from spinal-cord injuries the world over. O'Malley will present the results of her work with Childers at the IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics, part of Rehab Week in Zurich June 27-July 1.

    The robotic device Childers used in rudimentary form has since been enhanced and moved from Rice to the University of Texas Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Motor Recovery Lab at The Institution for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) -- Memorial Hermann Hospital, the world-renowned facility where U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is recovering from a gunshot wound to the head.

    The robot, called the RiceWrist, is a fully articulated exoskeleton worn by the patient that mimics the joints of a limb from shoulder to hand.

    It will be the centerpiece of human trials to prove its value as a tool that gently retrains the motor neuron pathways of spinal-cord injury victims. "This is not just an exercise machine," said O'Malley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and director of Rice's Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Laboratory.

    The research follows other high-profile studies by O'Malley. One concentrated on stroke rehabilitation using a joystick-driven computer interface. Another was a virtual learning technology for a variety of skills that made unique use of a Wii videogame's motion-capture abilities


  2. #2
    New Technology Promises a Brighter Future for Spinal Cord Injury Victims
    April 14, 2011

    As techniques like brain-computer interface implants become more widely available, spinal cord injury victims will need extensive personal injury compensation to gain access to technologies that truly improve their quality of life.

    April 14, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The most serious consequences of a motor vehicle accident, construction accident or other traumatic event can leave a family facing steep financial challenges. Traumatic brain injuries, horrific burns or other catastrophic injuries can require a lifetime of expensive medical treatment and lost income.

    One common result of the violent forces that accompany a serious accident is a spinal cord injury. Injuries to the spinal cord, the body's central conduit for delivery of pain and mobility impulses, frequently result in paraplegia or quadriplegia. The disabling harm caused in a moment is seldom reversible, but recent amazing technological breakthroughs will provide tremendous assistance to spinal cord injury victims in the not-too-distant future.


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