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Artificial Intelligence helping stroke patients walk again

Monday, July 24th, 2017 | News

An Artificial Intelligence (AI) controlled harness is being used to help patients that have suffered a neurological or spinal injury walk again.


Many people lose the ability to move certain limbs after strokes, but it is hoped this new technology will assist in the rehabilitation process; unfortunately, It’s common for patients to relearn movement incorrectly - something that can result in permanently impaired gait. This is where the harness and AI programming come into play, ensuring that people learn movement properly and safely.


The AI measures the neural pathways and physical movements of patients to ensure they are walking naturally. If a patient starts moving incorrectly, the AI will adjust the harness to push them forward, back, left and right, correcting their movement.


“The algorithm evaluates the optimal amount of body weight support for each patient,” says Grégoire Courtine, an author at EPFL’s Brain Mind Institute. Not only does the AI help correct movement, but it also helps patients rebuild muscle mass that has been lost.


A normal rehabilitation session requires several physiotherapists and isn’t as precise. The AI can measure very specific details about each patient ensuring that they are walking correctly and that they are also not doing any damage to their body.


The harness is incredibly effective with many people reporting improved movement after a one-hour session. The team behind the harness hope to commercialise the project, but they must go through clinical trials before that becomes a reality.


Read about the study here.


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