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Smart portable rehabilitation devices

DOI: 10.1186/1743-0003-2-18

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In this paper we present several new advancements in the area of smart rehabilitation devices that have been developed by the Northeastern University Robotics and Mechatronics Laboratory. They are all compact, wearable and portable devices and boast re-programmable, real time computer controlled functions as the central theme behind their operation. The sensory information and computer control of the three described devices make for highly efficient and versatile systems that represent a whole new breed in wearable rehabilitation devices. Their applications range from active-assistive rehabilitation to resistance exercise and even have applications in gait training. The three devices described are: a transportable continuous passive motion elbow device, a wearable electro-rheological fluid based knee resistance device, and a wearable electrical stimulation and biofeedback knee device.Laboratory tests of the devices demonstrated that they were able to meet their design objectives. The prototypes of portable rehabilitation devices presented here did demonstrate that these concepts are capable of the performance their commercially available but non-portable counterparts exhibit.Smart, portable devices with the ability for real time monitoring and adjustment open a new era in rehabilitation where the recovery process could be dramatically improved.During the last several decades a great deal of work has been undertaken for developing devices to accelerate recovery from injuries, operations and other complications. Many successful devices and methods have come out of this work. This included a general division of the recovery process into several phases.In the early stages of therapy, passive rehabilitation is often a preferred method for reducing swelling, alleviating pain, and restoring range of motion. This consists of moving the limb with the muscles remaining passive and often involves devices such as Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machines. The next stage of rehab


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