Biofeedback-type perception support robot technology for cognitive-neuro rehabilitation
The proportion of the population in Japan aged 65 and over has reached around 23%, which is a notable rate even among industrialized nations. Japanese society is forecast to continue ageing in the future, so rehabilitation, nursing and care support services, development of support equipment and more is important for improving QOL (quality of life).
Accumulation of developmental knowledge and clinical data on perception support robot technology (RT) to aid in the rehabilitation of hemiplegic patients. A mechanism devised for communicating the ground conditions under the paralyzed foot to the healthy side by a unit that displays pressure level, attached to the healthy side arm or back. By comparing the ground contact conditions on the paralyzed side, felt through the healthy side with the mistaken image of the whole body held by the patient, the patient can realize him or herself, the mismatch in body perception. With this new mechanism through which the robot draws out independence, brain plasticity is encouraged, making autonomous and efficient rehabilitation possible.
Recently, empathy prosthetics have been developed which share ground perception between physiotherapists and individuals undergoing rehabilitation (hemiplegic patients), and through cooperation with rehabilitation centers, clinical work has commenced toward the establishment of efficient and effective rehabilitation treatment methods.
We hope to collaborate on the development of small electrical components, on the creation of clothing and attire, on the development of touch centers, with welfare equipment-related organizations, on the sale and manufacture of medical tools, and with hospitals and others, and to propose an integrated system aimed at true cognitive-neuro rehabilitation.
Several RTs that can compensate for lack in physical function have been presented, but there have yet to be any examples of RTs which can raise attention to the paralyzed side of the body and reteach patients how to move, by transmitting perceptions from the paralyzed side to the brain via the healthy side, thus leading to subjective rehabilitation. We have a wealth of knowledge regarding robot technologies to “connect” the brain with physical activity and motivation.
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