Vrije Universiteit Brussel


Project objectives

The primary objective is to enhance the quality of automated step rehabilitation training both for patients and therapists.

One of the main project goals is the development of a novel full lower body exoskeleton powered by compliant actuators and the clinical evaluation of its concepts aimed at improving robot-assisted gait rehabilitation.

Integrating the expertise of neurological rehabilitation, functional anatomy, biomechanics, physiology and robotics, the project aims to develop and assess an original robotic rehabilitation system, providing the capacity to substantially enhance the prognostic health profile of the patient.

In addition, the research outcomes will contribute to the synergy between robotics and rehabilitation and to the development of related applications in the emerging fields of rehabilitation robotics and assistive robotics.

In the ALTACRO concerted research project a multidisciplinary team of doctors, engineers and physiotherapists conducts research into four identified challenges in robot-assisted gait rehabilitation:

  • Active assistance of the ankle joint, which is lacking in the gait rehabilitation devices currently on the market.

  • A more natural load distribution in the body, allowing for balance training. A robotic exoskeleton capable of providing full body weight support without any additional suspension system could open up possibilities.

  • More functional gait kinematics. Introducing threedimensional movements in a rehabilitation robot should improve recovery of coordination and equilibrium.

  • Improved physical human-robot interaction. The device should be capable of adaptable, compliant behaviour both for reasons of safety and functionality.

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