Upper-body exoskeleton designed to treat stroke victims
When stroke patients are recovering from upper-body paralysis, therapists often guide their arms through the lost motions, helping their nervous system to "relearn" the actions. The task can be a demanding one, though, which is where the Harmony SHR setup comes in.
Developed by Austin, Texas-based Harmony Bionics, SHR is essentially an upper-body robotic exoskeleton that is used in a seated position. Its two articulated arms are gently cuffed to the patient's upper and lower arms, supporting their weight while repeatedly moving them through pre-programmed patient-specific exercises designed to replicate everyday tasks.
While a therapist would ordinarily do this job manually, doing so can potentially get physically tiring when working with a series of patients all day long. The idea is that with Harmony SHR, therapists could have each patient doing a greater number of repetitions per session.
The system can also be used in Bilateral Sync Therapy mode, in which the robotic arm that's holding the patient's paralyzed arm simply mirrors the movements that they're making with their "good" arm (which is attached to – and guiding – the other robotic arm).
Additionally, the exoskeleton can be set to compensate for injuries such as shoulder dislocations, plus it replicates the shoulder's natural range of movement, so it shouldn't cause any injuries.
You can see Harmony SHR in use, in the following video.
Source: Harmony Bionics via IEEE Spectrum
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