A Japanese research team has developed a machine that could potentially restore the walking ability of partially paralyzed stroke victims. Called the GaitMaster 5, the machine has motion platforms that can move a patient’s feet both forward to create a walking stride, and upward to simulate stair climbing.
While the machine controls every movement initially, it can be tweaked to allow more free movement once the patient regains some muscle memory. The Gaitmaster 5 was tested on two partially paralyzed patients, successfully restoring some muscle memory on the paralytic sides of their bodies.
The research paper will be presented at the 2010 Haptics Symposium in Massachusetts this week.