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CoBot Project - A Human Collaborative Robot to Provide Passive Rehabilitation Exercise for Stroke Victims

cobot logo blue.jpg

CONTACT INFORMATION

The University: The University of Leeds, School of Mechanical Engineering

Team Members: Max Bowerman, Sylvie Garner, Jordan Glynne-Jones, Chris Judge & Justine Jurga    

Academic Supervisors: Dr. Andrew Jackson, Dr. Peter Culmer & Professor Martin Levesley

CONTACT US ON: mn10sg@leeds.ac.uk

PROJECT AIM

To design, build and evaluate a human-collaborative robot, or CoBoT, system capable of assisting people with impaired upper limb movement, such as recovering stroke victims, to undertake therapeutic exercise in the home.

With the device having a passive nature, it can then be classified as a Catergory I device, reducing the cost of certification and therefore commercialisation.

CONTEXT


In England, 150,000 people have a stroke each year as a result of the blood supply to a part of the brain being cut off. Its damage can be wide-spread and long-lasting, with many not even being able to fully recover.

Weakness or paralysis to one side of the body, as well as fatigue and co-ordination/ balance loss, commonly occur as a result of this.

Rehabilitation is a method used to aid recovery, however this is often only provided in a hospital setting until a stroke victim is discharged.

With our device being intended for home use, this will extend the opportunities for rehabilitation exercise to occur.

Existing rehabilitation devices often revolve around hospital use, and therefore are too large for the home environment, our device will still provide rehabilitation exercise while being compact and user-friendly.

Many of the existing devices today are still in developmental stages and therefore are very technical in appearance, often leading to users being scared, therefore resulting in less use. By being conscious of this, we hope to deliver a more aesthetically pleasing solution, limiting the amount of de-motivation, while still providing the same rehabilitative effects.

Bimanual devices are very common in this field.

Even though one side of the body is affected by a stroke, the incorporation of both sides working together during rehabilitation helps provide more successful physiotherapy.

The School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds has been involved in developing numerous robotic devices aimed at providing safe, automated, intelligent movement assisstance to a range of people.

Using the latest technology, a wide range of devices which administer physiotherapy have already been produced at Leeds, most famoulsy the IPAM device.

They have been previously awarded numerous design awards for innovation in this field, such as by the NHS and the Design Council.

Two 'active' devices, as opposed to passive, are currently involved in clinical trials in the UK.



PROTOTYPING


cobot2.jpg

cobot1.jpg
Unlike other current rehabilitation devices, we wanted to work with a more table top format, freeing up more space in the home environment.
A joystick handle, connected to two potentiometers, allows the user to move around the work area while also allowing their moments to be tracked.
The system is connected via a MyDAQ to Labview.

Our hope is to create a programme where the user will need to complete a set tasks, ie. specific movement patterns, in turn providing the rehabilitative exercise element.


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