Currently, the world is facing a huge shortage of caregivers and therapists who can assist individuals who are physically disabled. This problem is expected to increase and become massive in the future. The patient population that needs physical rehabilitation on a regular basis is also increasing. A Robotic rehabilitation solution can provide a solution to this problem. Recent studies have shown that robotics can help rehabilitate such individuals and enable them to get on with their daily lives. However, currently, the availability of such devices in a patient clinic setting is pretty limited.
In upper limb extremity rehabilitation, you will notice that it involves actions that stimulate the independence of the patients and improve the quality of life at the same time. There are two primary application fields in the case of robotic devices that stand out in this measure: physical training as well as support to perform ADL [activities of daily living].
So far, there are very few devices that have been proposed. This is primarily due to economic and technical restrictions. Such devices have been observed to improve the lives of users. These devices should also be deemed safe, be easy on the pocket and be user-friendly. Portability is another important factor that is expected of robotic rehabilitation devices. The level of available energy from the device gets limited by the device’s capacity to store energy. If the device is needed to support multiple joint movements, and the number of actuators that are needed also increases along with the weight of the device. Thus, the number of available portable devices for upper extremity movements is very low right now. In some cases, portability may not be necessary. In the case of spinal cord or stroke injury, upper extremity disorders are also accompanied by lower extremity problems. Such scenarios are categorized by requiring a wheelchair or completely immobilized conditions. In such cases, many systems that can assist with the upper lip movements are installed next to the patient.
There is another group of robotic home-based rehabilitation systems. These are devices responsible for providing physical therapy. These cannot be installed at homes. These are present in either therapeutic institutes or in certain specific home-based conditions. Most of these devices are found only in therapeutic institutes since they constantly need supervised assistance from people who are qualified to use them. Their price is also a factor that prevents them from getting installed at homes.
Since the patient’s requirement for such devices is expected to increase, there have been two concepts provided in this case. One is that a more adaptable and complex professional version should be used at rehabilitation centres and hospitals. The second is that a low-cost and simplified version should be used at home for patient rehabilitation. It has been observed that therapists do not prefer to use the device if the setup takes over 5 minutes of time. These newly developed devices for professional rehabilitation services should be easy, intuitive, reasonably priced, and have a quick setup.