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Bots are becoming highly skilled assistants in physical therapy

Within the last decade, we’ve seen incredible progress in the fields of and artificial intelligenceArtificial Intelligence knows many different definitions, but in general it can be defined as a machine completing complex tasks intelligently, meaning that it mirrors human intelligence and evolves with time.. Innovators have been seeking out ways to meld man and machine and, in some areas, remove man altogether. In , we’re seeing delivery dronesDrones are defined as unmanned aircrafts, they can be very small or rather large. Most drones cannot operate completely autonomous, but need human inputs. Moreover, there are a lot of laws in place which do not allow for private drones to fly out of sight. , security robots, and more. In , chatbots , self-driving cars, and voice recognition have all made significant strides.

Perhaps most importantly, we’re seeing incredible advances in and robotic technologies within healthcare that are improving patient treatment and care. One specific practice area capitalizing on both technologies is physical therapy — with a particular focus on people who suffer from mobility issues due to neurological injury.

Bots are helping humans provide improved care

While traditional therapy methods are tried and true and still yield results, recent research around motor interference and motor memory consolidation has shown that the optimal way to treat patients with neurological disorders is through a collaborative effort of robots and human therapists. The robots focus on reducing physical impairments and the therapists assist in translating the gains in impairment into function.

According to the Worldwide Health Organization (WHO), 15 million people suffer a stroke worldwide each year , with the United States accounting for almost 800,000 of those instances. A third of those people – approximately five million – are left permanently disabled and in need of some sort of physical therapy or patient care to help them attempt to regain even a fraction of their original physical mobility.

Regaining Motor Skills with a

The loss of motor skills is a common occurrence for stroke survivors, with impairment leaving it difficult to stand, walk, or complete simple tasks like tying shoelaces or squeezing a hand. Current care methods rely on physical therapists manually helping patients learn how to balance and strengthen muscles through a series of exercises and stretches. While this has certainly been an effective treatment over the past decade, traditional physical therapy for stroke survivors and others suffering from neurological injuries/disorders falls far behind what is possible when technology is integrated into the course of care.

The advancement of machine and artificial intelligence technologies, along with the evolution of , has produced commercialized robotic therapy solutions that have an exceptional capacity for measurement and immediate interactive response. Consider this – a human therapist can likely only guide a patient through a handful of movements during a session, with little ability to movements that aren’t outwardly significant. A therapy can guide a patient through hundreds of movements during a session. It can sense even the slightest response while adjusting to the patient’s continually-changing physical ability. […]

  1. SwissCognitive

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  3. Frank Kumli

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