A team of young Thais has won a technology champion award at the 7th International convention on Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology (i-CREATe 2013) in South Korea.
The Mahidol University team demonstrates their innovation for people with disabilities.
As part of the annual conference, the competition last week was looking for innovations to aid senior citizens and people with disabilities.
The winning project, a "Device: Ankle-Foot Passive Motion Device For Footdrop", is the brainchild of biomedical engineering students at Mahidol University.
The team employed the principle of passive movement. While in use, a patient's stronger ankle can assist the weaker ankle move within ange of a pre-set angle that corresponds to the ability of the weak ankle. An LED light and beep sound are installed to send feedback to the patient when the ankle reaches the angle limits, so that they will not move the ankle beyond the normal range.
It can be used in both lying and sitting positions. The device has a display monitor and a virtual reality (VR) game.
While performing exercises, patients feel as if they are moving in the real environment of the game. When the device moves, the game in VR will move accordingly. The monitor also displays the score achieved during the exercise, helping protect the patient from moving the ankle too fast.
According to the inventors, patients with footdrop problems caused by stroke, diabetic peripheral neuropathy and back pain associated with nerve compression (slipped disc or herniated nucleus pulposus) can also use this device. If these patients do not receive appropriate treatment, they may develop complications and ankle joint stiffness. The design and development of the device can increase movement range and reduce stiffness.