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IIT Madras develops robot for rehabilitation of people with arm impairments

IIT Madras develops robot for rehabilitation of people with arm impairments
4 Mar, 2022
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Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras in collaboration with motion tech company Portescap and Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore has developed a robot named AREBO (Arm Rehabilitation Robot) for rehabilitation of people suffering from arm impairments caused by neurological and musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, stroke, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease.  

According to IIT Madras, the robot will be used for training people with arm impairments to make joint movements at the shoulder and elbow. It has been designed to be used with either side of the body so it can be used for both right and left arm.   

The institute said it can also help therapists remotely monitor performance and plan therapies around it. 

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The team involved in the development of the robot was led by Sujatha Srinivasan, faculty head, TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development at IIT Madras, and Sivakumar Balasubramanian, professor at CMC Vellore.  

“AREBO is the result of our approach towards simplifying rehabilitation robots, which is necessary for routine clinical use. We expect to have a simple, compact, easy-to-use, and safe robot ready for large-scale clinical trials through this collaboration,” said Balasubramanian. 

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Balasubramanian points out, bringing it to the market will require understanding as to how this device fits into routine clinical practice and its added value to patients and clinicians.  

IIT Madras said it is also working with Portescap on a lower limb exoskeleton for gait training of people suffering from stroke and spinal cord injuries. 

Use of robots in healthcare for training and rehabilitation has started to get traction in India. Some of the hospitals are already using some of these robots. For instance, the Kokilaben Hospital and Research Institute, Mumbai is using an upper limb robotic system to provide training with visual feedback and virtual reality (VR) to patients who have no to moderate power in the upper limb due to paralysis and other impairments.  

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