The WalkTrainer™: A Robotic System for Walking Rehabilitation*
Robots are excellent tools for providing motion. Their motion is precise, stiff and as repeatable as we need. This led the Swiss Foundation for Cyberthosis (SFC) to exploit robotics jointly with the muscle electrostimulation as intelligent rehabilitation devices. This paper will present one of this devices developed by the “Laboratoire des Systemes Robotiques (LSRO) at the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). This device called ”The WalkTrainer™” is a robotic rehabilitation system composed by a deambulator, a pelvis orthosis, a body weight support, two leg orthoses and a real time controlled electrostimulator. The WalkTrainer™ is a verticalized system allowing walking rehabilitation process. It can be used for paraplegic and hemiplegic persons. In the first part of this paper the context of the development of such devices is presented by introducing a stationary rehabilitation system: the MotionMaker™. The very encouraging clinical results obtained with this system are shown to prove the rightness of the concept (Robotic system + Electrostimulation ⇒ Rehabilitation process). In the second part, the WalkTrainer™ is presented with its components (robotic components and the controller). Finally, we will introduce the use of the WalkTrainer™, its flexibility and diversity of use either for diagnosis, test or measurement and walking rehabilitation.