Tuesday, 7 June 2011

‘Wii-habilitation’ and robotic exoskeletons: technology in physiotherapy - 2010

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Student Medical Journal 2010; 3: 70-74.

Aideen Henry(1), Aileen Barrett(2)

Author affilitations
1RCSI physiotherapy student
2Practice Education Co-ordinator, School of Physiotherapy, RCSI

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For mobility-impaired patients, gait retraining is an integral part of the rehabilitation programme. Manual assisted body weight support treadmill training (BWSTT) has been a major focus of research and is considered one of the primary methods of gait retraining. In recent years the focus of research has shifted to robotic assisted treadmill training, which is as efficacious as manual assisted BWSTT but is considered more cost-effective with respect to personnel and labour. The Lokomat® is a machine that provides robotic assisted treadmill training by means of a robotic gait orthosis, body weight support system and treadmill. Manufactured by Hocoma in Switzerland, it has been the subject of intense media attention since it was introduced to the US in 2001. Similar attention has been given to the Nintendo WiiTM gaming system for its potential role in rehabilitation. Although not specifically designed for use in the medical arena, the Nintendo WiiTM has been linked with functional rehabilitation benefits in a variety of patient groups. The aim of this paper is to review the clinical applications of the Lokomat® and Nintendo WiiTM, and to provide an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages associated with each as a physiotherapy modality in rehabilitation.

Keywords: Physiotherapy, treadmill training, Lokomat®, virtual reality, Nintendo WiiTM, gait re-education.

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