A novel cable-driven robotic locomotor training system was developed to provide compliant assistance/resistance forces to the legs during treadmill training in patients with incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI). Eleven subjects with incomplete SCI were recruited to participate in two experiments to test the feasibility of the robotic gait training system. Specifically, 10 subjects participated in one experimental session to test the characteristics of the robotic gait training system and one subject participated in repeated testing sessions over 8 weeks with the robotic device to test improvements in locomotor function. Limb kinematics were recorded in one experiment to evaluate the system characteristics of the cable-driven locomotor trainer and the overground gait speed and 6. min walking distance were evaluated at pre, 4 and 8 weeks post treadmill training of a single subject as well. The results indicated that the cable driven robotic gait training system improved the kinematic performance of the leg during treadmill walking and had no significant impact on the variability of lower leg trajectory, suggesting a high backdrivability of the cable system. In addition, results from a patient with incomplete SCI indicated that prolonged robotic gait training using the cable robot improved overground gait speed. Results from this study suggested that a cable driven robotic gait training system is effective in improving leg kinematic performance, yet allows variability of gait kinematics. Thus, it seems feasible to improve the locomotor function in human SCI using this cable driven robotic system, warranting testing with a larger group of patients.
- Cable actuated
- Robotic locomotor training
- Spinal cord injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine