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A Socially Assistive Mobile Platform for Weight-Support in Gait Training

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Abstract

Although the aspects of physical support for patients with lower-limb sensory motor paralysis during walk rehabilitation are well studied, it is also important to consider the social factors which may affect them during gait training. In this study, we propose a robotic platform able to autonomously accompany users while providing social assistance by using an anthropomorphic interface on the front side. The developed mobile platform is based on a weight-support device and is capable to move in accordance with the users’ gait speed and to acquire information such as step-length, step-width and cadence, which can be used further to monitor their progress during the task. The non-verbal interaction provided by the anthropomorphic robot is done by head and hand movement which is remotely controlled during the exercise. Experiments indicate that the platform can adapt to the walking pattern of participants in a similar manner as a therapist does. Furthermore, assessment from questionnaires shows improvements in the participants’ feeling of comfort, independence and motivation in the scenario with the social robot.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thanks the Center for Innovative Medicine and Engineering (CIME) at University of Tsukuba Hospital and their staff for all kind of support during the experiments.

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Correspondence to Bruno Leme.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics Statement

Written consent was acquired from each participant prior to the experimental sessions. This was a non-clinical study without any harming procedure and all data were collected anonymously.

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Leme, B., Hirokawa, M., Kadone, H. et al. A Socially Assistive Mobile Platform for Weight-Support in Gait Training. Int J of Soc Robotics (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-019-00550-x

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Keywords

  • Socially assistive robots
  • Gait measurement
  • Gait rehabilitation