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A medical robotics device that eases gravitational load


Narrator:        This is Science Today. Engineers at the University of California, Santa Cruz are exploring the human-machine interface and have built a prototype of wearable exoskeleton arms that can be used in physiotherapy to rehabilitate patients suffering from stroke or degenerative diseases. Medical robotics expert, Jacob Rosen, says an interesting finding they discovered is that gravitational load is the largest load as we move our arms.

Rosen: All the rest, which is manipulating the object are very small loads and therefore, people after stroke, they might have the capabilities to manipulate objects, but they don't have the muscle strength to keep their arm in space and therefore, the exoskeleton can compensate gravity for them, so the patient would feel like they are moving in space. They won't feel the weight of the arm, so you can gradually introduce more and more control and gravity compensation as you move through the therapy and just concentrating on the control and manipulability of objects.

Rosen:                        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.