Cyberthosis: Rehabilitation robotics with controlled electrical muscle stimulation
Each year, following an accident or illness, over 200 new cases of paraplegia occur in Switzerland, and 1000 in France. This makes 7’000, respectively 40'000 para- etraplegic patients in these countries. Since the Second World War, methods available for the treatment of medullar trauma at the moment of lesion, and for re-education, have evolved considerably. Nowadays, these methods allow in around 80% of medullar injuries, limitation of the damage to a partial lesion of the spinal cord. Unfortunately, only 10% of these patients ever recover autonomous walking Zäch G.A., 2000]. Today paraplegics often benefit from walking re-education programmes on treadmills. Two, occasionally three physiotherapists are required to mobilise the patient’s legs and pelvis. Unfortunately this work is extremely hard on the staff, and the movements are difficult to reproduce and obviously non-quantifiable. These manual treatments are slowly being replaced by robotic rehabilitation [Reinkensmeyer et al., 2004], much more capable of providing the repetitive and precise exercises demanded by modern methods. However, in cases where residual voluntary capacity is absent, or where there is muscular atrophy, the movements made are purely passive. The Cyberthosis Project presented below, allows active re-education, and preliminary testing has confirmed its great efficacy.