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Martins M.M.,University of Minho | Santos C.P.,University of Minho | Frizera-Neto A.,Federal University of Espirito Santo | Ceres R.,Bioengineering Group
Robotics and Autonomous Systems | Year: 2012

In an aging society it is extremely important to develop devices, which can support and aid the elderly in their daily life. This demands means and tools that extend independent living and promote improved health. Thus, the goal of this article is to review the state of the art in the robotic technology for mobility assistive devices for people with mobility disabilities. The important role that robotics can play in mobility assistive devices is presented, as well as the identification and survey of mobility assistive devices subsystems with a particular focus on the walkers technology. The advances in the walkers' field have been enormous and have shown a great potential on helping people with mobility disabilities. Thus it is presented a review of the available literature of walkers and are discussed major advances that have been made and limitations to be overcome. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source

Pons J.L.,Bioengineering Group
IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine | Year: 2010

Exoskeletons are wearable robots exhibiting a close cognitive and physical interaction with the human user. These are rigid robotic exoskeletal structures that typically operate alongside human limbs. Scientific and technological work on exoskeletons began in the early 1960s but have only recently been applied to rehabilitation and functional substitution in patients suffering from motor disorders. Key topics for further development of exoskeletons in rehabilitation scenarios include the need for robust humanrobot multimodal cognitive interaction, safe and dependable physical interaction, true wearability and portability, and user aspects such as acceptance and usability. This discussion provides an overview of these aspects and draws conclusions regarding potential future research directions in robotic exoskeletons. © 2006 IEEE. Source

Rocon E.,Bioengineering Group
Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference | Year: 2010

Tremor constitutes the most common movement disorder; in fact 14.5% of population between 50 to 89 years old suffers from it. Moreover, 65% of patients with upper limb tremor report disability when performing their activities of daily living (ADL). Unfortunately, 25% of patients do not respond to drugs or neurosurgery. In this regard, TREMOR project proposes functional compensation of upper limb tremors with a soft wearable robot that applies biomechanical loads through functional electrical stimulation (FES) of muscles. This wearable robot is driven by a Brain Neural Computer Interface (BNCI). This paper presents a multimodal BCI to assess generation, transmission and execution of both volitional and tremorous movements based on electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG) and inertial sensors (IMUs). These signals are combined to obtain: 1) the intention to perform a voluntary movement from cortical activity (EEG), 2) tremor onset, and an estimation of tremor frequency from muscle activation (EMG), and 3) instantaneous tremor amplitude and frequency from kinematic measurements (IMUs). Integration of this information will provide control signals to drive the FES-based wearable robot. Source

Gallego J.A.,Bioengineering Group
Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Conference | Year: 2011

In spite of decades of intense research, pathological tremors still constitute unknown disorders. This study addresses, based on a multi-scale model, the behavior of an entire pool of motor neurons in tremor, under the hypothesis that tremor is an oscillation of central origin commonly projected to all motor neurons that innervate a muscle. Our results show that under such conditions both paired discharges and enhanced motor neuron synchronization, two of the characteristic landmarks of tremor, emerge. Moreover, coherence and correlation analyses suggest that the central tremor oscillator is transmitted linearly by the motor neuron pool given that a small set (7 or 8) of motor neurons are sampled. Source

Forner-Cordero I.,Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist | Munoz-Langa J.,University of Valencia | Forner-Cordero A.,Bioengineering Group | Demiguel-Jimeno J.M.,Rehabilitation Unit
Annals of Surgical Oncology | Year: 2010

Background: Many studies have reported the benefits of Decongestive treatment in patients with breast-cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) but few have study what are the predictive factors of response. Methods: We performed a prospective, multicenter controlled cohort study of 171 patients with BCRL to identify independent predictive factors of response to decongestive treatment (CDT). Demographic data and clinical and lymphedema characteristics were collected prospectively. The end point was the "percentage reduction in excess volume (PREV)." Volumes were measured prior and at the end of CDT. Factors associated with response (PREV) were tested in univariate and multivariate analyses using linear regression techniques. Results: Median age was 60.4 years (range 32-84); mean lymphedema chronicity 4 years [95% confidence interval (95% CI): 3.1-5.0]; mean baseline excess volume (EV) was 936 mL (95% CI: 846-1026), and mean percentage EV was 35.3% (95% CI: 32.0-38.7); compliance to bandages was good in 81.3% of patients. PREV was 71.7% (95% CI: 65.2-78.2). After univariate screening, 11 variables were found to be associated with PREV but only 4 variables were independent predictive factors of response to CDT in the multivariate analysis: Venous insufficiency, percentage of EV (the higher the EV, the lower the reduction with CDT); compliance to bandages (a good compliance improved PREV in 25%), and treatment in autumn (better results than during the rest of the year). Conclusions: This study shows that compliance to bandages during CDT is one of the most important predictors of response. Moreover, data support the idea that more severe lymphedemas have a worse response to treatment, and it should be recommended in early stages. The association between the season of treatment and response was also very strong, so weather conditions are an additional factor that must be taken into account in further studies. © 2009 Society of Surgical Oncology. Source

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