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Development of a raising, walking and exercise device with upper body support for rehabilitation of stroke victims

Final Report Summary - WALKX (Development of a raising, walking and exercise device with upper body support for rehabilitation of stroke victims)

Executive Summary:
Stroke is the most common cause of adult disability in Europe. Roughly 75 % of the victims survive, but about half of these lose the ability to live independently in their own home. Rehabilitation and hospitalization represent a major economic burden for the EU of about €34Bn annually. Currently the annual incidence is approximately 2 per 1000 inhabitants in the EU, and the number is predicted to double over the next 50 years due to aging of the population. WHO Regional office for Europe’s stroke strategies for 2015 states that the goal for rehabilitation after stroke is that three months after the onset of stroke, over 70% of the surviving patients are independent in their activities of daily living. Based on the need to improve rehabilitation and increase the independence of stroke victims this project will develop a user friendly device that can support the patient in raising from sitting to standing position and enable the patient to perform walking training with weight bearing functionality, with correction to correct walking pattern, and by that improve the maneuverability for many patient groups. The WalkX will in addition offer upper body support and balancing support to
the user. The WalkX can be programmed as a robot enabling the user to follow the walking device or if gaining more body control to push the WalkX when walking and training. It is intended to be used in rehabilitation centers and with less need for physical support from therapists, faster entry time for patients and it provides longer and more intense therapy sessions for the patients. It is estimated that the total market of WalkX is €250Mn in Europe for the coming 5 years post project. The SME participants in this project represent the European Medical Device Industry, comprising over 8 500 businesses where more than 80% are SMEs. The European companies are threatened by strong competition from USA and Japan and will by this project strengthen their market position. In the WalkX project a fully functional rehabilitation device prototype was prepared and the SME members of the consortium are actively looking for a future funding and exploitation channels to prepare a device to be sold all around Europe. The innovative weight bearing and improved training sessions for the patients make the device very interesting to the medical sector and the consortium will pursue
the development of the device and it is aimed that the first version to be sold will come out in 3-4 years post project.
Project Context and Objectives:
The project started with a research of a healthy person research and especially concentrating on a correct walking pattern for different persons. This data was used to calculate optimal walking pattern algorithms for the device use. At the same time a Raising and Stabilization Unit (RSU) was developed to be able to carry person up to 100kg with safety limitations. The RSU is standalone device and can be operated independently from the rest of the device. There were developed two operation modes and raising and lowering modes. The operation modes were "follow" and "weight bearing" with selectable weight bearing forces. In the follow mode the RSU will simply follow the patient without weight bearing, whereas the weight bearing mode will reduce patient's stress on the legs with selected force.

The same time as the RSU was developed and built, the consortium was also developing Feet Propulsion Unit (FPU) which was at the same time a frame holding the RSU and a platform moving legs along the correct pattern. The FPU is servo motor driven two platform system where the feet platforms are moveable in back-forward, up-down and tilting (up-down) directions. The FPU was again driven with a specific software developed separately. The software developed was controlling the 6 servo motors in the system thus providing the wanted speed and optimal walking pattern for patients.The software was developed on Linux platform to keep the price of the computer system reasonable. When the project prototype was ready a series of tests were conducted ending with a pre-clinical studies performed in LaFe hospital in Valencia, Spain.
Project Results:
The three main exploitable results of the project were:
1. Raising and Stabilisation Unit (RSU with weight bearing functionality. The weight bearing functionality is innovative solution what can be applied into many other fields of technology, not only to the medical sector where it has it's main use on the rehablitation of patients with different kind of walking disabilities.
2. Supportive vest is a flexible and easily adjustable vest created through the project and it is easy to adjust into a different fields of technology or even on a leisure use because of the full body support provided from the hip area.
3. Feet Propulsion Unit (FPU) and motor controllers and software developed in the project give a great flexibility on any servomotor controlled application in any technology or industrial fields, not just only on feet controlling, but also on controlling any motor controlled actions where a simultaneous and synchronized movement of multiple motors are needed.
Potential Impact:
Based on the need to improve rehabilitation and increase the independence of stroke victims this project will develop a high quality, advanced, assistive training device for stroke patients – WalkX – that will help stroke victims achieve a faster physical recovery and regain their mobility and independence. It is modular and adjustable according to the recovery process of the patient and may be utilised with a therapist or independently. It is estimated that the total European market for systems like WalkX is €250Mn.
The aim of the project was to develop a user friendly walking training device that can support the patient in raising from sitting to standing position and enable the patient to perform walking training thus improve his/her manoeuvrability. An upper body stabilizing and controllable supporting vest will be developed. Early in the rehabilitation process it will be used under supervision of a therapist, but with greatly reduced need for physical support from the therapists. Patients will gradually be more independent and eventually some patients can use the device by their own and perform daily training at an institution.
List of Websites:
http://www.walkx.com/
http://www.madeformovement.no/
Coordinator contact:
Made for Movement

Rodmyrlia 2
3740 Skien
Phone: +47 35 50 51 20
Fax: +47 35 50 51 21
info.no@madeformovement.com