This trunk to Help patients with spinal cord injury
A Columbia Engineering team headed by an Indian scientist has invented a robotic device that can be utilized to help and train individuals with spinal cord injuries to sit stably by improving their back control, gaining an expanded active sitting workspace without falling over or using their hands to equilibrium.
Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can cause devastating damage, including loss of mobility and sensation.
“We designed TruST for individuals with SCIs that are typically wheelchair users. We discovered that TruST not only prevents patients from falling, but also maximises trunk movements beyond patients’ postural control, or balance limits,” said Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine.
The analysis, published in the journal Spinal Cord Series and Cases, is the first to measure and define the sitting workspace of patients with spinal cord injuries according to their busy trunk control with assistance from the”Trunk-Support Trainer (TruST)” robotic apparatus.
The trunk is a motorised-cable driven belt placed on the user’s chest to ascertain the control limits that are postural and sitting workspace area in people with spinal cord injuries.
It provides forces on the torso once the user performs upper body motions while sitting.
The five patients who participated in the pilot study were analyzed a customised test that required them to follow a ball with their head and move their back as far as possible, with the Postural Star-Sitting Test, without using their hands.
The test was repeated in eight directions, and the researchers used the results to calculate each individual’s workspace.
The group then tailored the robotic device for every subject while the subjects performed the exact movements 27, to employ personalised assistive force areas.
With the’TruST’, the subjects could reach during the back trips in all eight directions and significantly expand the workspace around their bodies, on an average of about 25 per cent .
“The capacity of ‘TruST’ to provide constant force-feedback personalised for the user’s postural limits opens new frontiers to implement motor learning-based paradigms to retrain functional sitting in people with SCI,” says Victor Santamaria, a physical therapist, postdoctoral researcher in Agrawal’s Robotics and Rehabilitation Laboratory.