The Self-Initiated Prone Progression (SIPPC) was developed by Engineering Researchers at the University of Oklahoma, and has now moved into its third version. Initial trials Engineers reported promising results, so the researchers expanded their study to include 56 infants earlier this year. Cerebral palsy is typically diagnosed around the time a child reaches his or her first birthday, and affects movement and muscle coordination; many infants with cerebral palsy are unable to crawl until about the age of 2, if at all. Research Engineers say early intervention can likely improve these skills. http://glewengineering.com/engineers-develop-exoskeleton-paralyzed-can-walk/

A new study recruits’ infants between the ages of 4 and 8 months old, strapping them into a three-wheeled soft pad and an array of sensors. Twelve movement sensors send measurements to a nearby computer at fifty times per second, and cameras show what each limb is doing at any particular time. With the machine-learning algorithm, the device can predict the baby’s movement intentions, allowing it to help where necessary. If the baby attempts a movement but doesn’t have the strength to execute it, the robot will give the extra boost needed to carry out the action.

Infants with conditions such as CP lack the muscle strength, postural control, and motor coordination necessary for these early exploratory limb and trunk movements to result in locomotion.  Without this positive feedback, the development of the neural pathways for productive limb use is diminished, which results in delayed or lack of development of crawling and walking. These limitations in mobility negatively affect other domains of development such as perception and cognition, with effects being visible even into adulthood.   http://glewengineering.com/engineers-develop-iron-man-suits-coming-to-factory-floors/

Robot Exoskeleton Gives Babies at Risk of Cerebral Palsy a Power Boost as They Learn to Crawl and Walk

  • Device consists of wheeled pad, machine-learning algorithm, and sensors
  • Robot helps infants crawl, promoting brain development and motor skills
  • If the baby attempts movement but can’t execute it, robot will give a boost 

A padded, motorized skateboard equipped with a machine-learning algorithm could one day help to improve the capabilities of infants at risk of cerebral palsy. The robotic exoskeleton allows at risk children to crawl and explore their environment, giving them a ‘boost’ when appropriate to promote brain development and build new motor skills.

While using the device, babies are also suited with a small cap containing dozens of electrodes to track the brain’s activity, allowing researchers to view their movements in 3D on a computer screen. The robotic exoskeleton allows at risk children to crawl and explore their environment, giving them a ‘boost’ when appropriate to promote brain development and build new motor skills

WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY? 

Cerebral palsy addresses numerous neurological disorders that affect movement and muscle coordination. These conditions appear in infancy or early childhood, and signs often show up before the age of 3. Many infants with cerebral palsy are unable to crawl until about the age of 2, if at all. While there is no cure, early intervention can help to improve motor and cognitive skills.  Initial trials had promising results, so the researchers expanded their study to include 56 infants earlier this year.Cerebral palsy is typically diagnosed around the time a child reaches his or her first birthday, and affects movement and muscle coordination; many infants with cerebral palsy are unable to crawl until about the age of 2, if at all. But, researchers say early intervention can likely improve these skills.     http://glewengineering.com/licensed-mechanical-engineers-build-animal-prosthetics/

Twelve movement sensors send measurements to a nearby computer at fifty times per second, according to IEEE, and cameras show what each limb is doing at any particular time. With the machine-learning algorithm, the device can predict the baby’s movement intentions, allowing it to help where necessary. Engineers state that without this positive feedback, the development of the neural pathways for productive limb use is diminished, which results in delayed or lack of development of crawling and walking. These limitations in mobility negatively affect other domains of development such as perception and cognition, with effects being visible even into adulthood.

The new study recruits infants between the ages of 4 and 8 months old, strapping them into a three-wheeled soft pad and an array of sensors. With the machine-learning algorithm, the device can predict the baby’s movement intentions, allowing it to help where necessary. Work is funded by the National Science Foundation’s National Robotics Initiative, and Engineers will continue to improve development for another six to nine months. Researchers say this device could encourage brain development, providing the infants with a way to improve spatial cognition, problem solving, and depth perception as it helps them to carry out the critical learning processes associated with crawling.

As soon as a Child starts to crawl, the world seems like a much bigger place. Engineers hope, with the crawling, we’ll set them up to build other capabilities that will be really important later on in life.  Robotic Exoskeleton for babies does two things: (1) makes the children have a more open world and (2) help prevent cerebral palsy. The motorized device has power steering that gives babies at risk of CP a little push needed to be able to move and crawl like their peers can. The condition can be caused by brain damage, infections and injuries early in a person’s life. To combat the disorder, therapy must start as early as possible — unfortunately, it’s not typically diagnosed until a child turns one year old.

The good news is that Doctors have developed a method to detect which babies between two and eight months old are most likely to develop cerebral palsy. Since children at risk of the disease can’t move their bodies the way they want to, they stop trying to crawl after a while, causing the brain to stop developing new motor skills. This machine provides the push they need to crawl normally, promoting brain growth and the formation of motor skills.

The team has been developing this exoskeleton for a while now, but they admit that there’s still much to be done before it’s ready. If you are a child with the most common childhood physical disability, cerebral palsy, there is only a 50 per cent chance that you will still be able to walk as an adult. Robotic exoskeletons may just be about to change that.

Some clinics already have bulky robotic devices that support children with cerebral palsy so they can practice walking. But these are usually attached to a ceiling pulley system and so cannot be used at home. The new device, developed at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, is completely mobile. Sensors on the exoskeleton legs monitor each step, which is then processed by a computer housed in a backpack. At just the right moment, the exoskeleton’s actuators fire to give a muscular boost, improving posture and easing the strain. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to or abnormalities in the developing brain, which lead to movement difficulties. Though many children with cerebral palsy are able to walk, the condition often causes crouch gait, or over-bending of the knees. This walking technique requires more strength and energy than would otherwise be necessary. As children grow up and become heavier, their muscles cannot keep up, sometimes leading to complete loss of their ability to walk.

Early Intervention

If Research Engineers can change crouch gait at a young age, mobility can possibility be maintained into adulthood. Using the exoskeleton hopefully will only be temporary. Research Engineers want Babies and Children to be able to walk without it in their future. Hopefully, brain and muscle memory will help.     http://glewengineering.com/licensed-mechanical-engineers-build-animal-prosthetics/D

Seven children and young adults with cerebral palsy, ranging from 5 to 19 in age, used the device successfully, with none of them falling while using it. After six training sessions, all but one of those taking part saw improvements in their walking that were as good as or better than would be expected if they had had the corrective surgery that is often required. This can range from tendon lengthening to bone fusion. There are so many children around the world who can be affected by technology like this, say Engineers Columbia University in New York. He also works on exoskeletons for cerebral palsy and created a lightweight model that uses cables to pull on the legs at the right moments.  There are pros and cons with each style, long-term studies to really find the best approach.  

However, one thing is clear: being able to use an in-home exoskeleton without support from therapists for 1 hour a day over the course of a year could give more children access to the sort of physical therapy that could keep them walking in later life.