Robot-assisted therapy is effective in improving arm and shoulder mobility in stroke patients, according to new research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles.
Start about one minute in to see the device in action.
(ReoTherapy by Motorika Robot Therapy)
According to the study, 60 patients with hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body) due to a stroke were given physical therapy. Half of the group received robot-assisted therapy using a Reo Therapy System by Motorika Ltd. (Caesarea, Israel), which repeatedly moves the forearm in various pre-programmed directions. The other half spent the same amount of time undergoing traditional rehabilitation.
Star Wars fans have already prepared themselves for robotic help in recovery; the 2-1B autonomous medical droid could do surgery as well as rehab.
(2-1B medical droid from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)
I also thought of the "automatic massager," a fictional robot from A.E. van Vogt's 1944 story Far Centaurus. After being asleep for decades while traveling between the stars, what sort of machines will help restore vigor to the body?
Slowly, I pushed my hand toward the edge of the bed. Click! My fingers pressed the button that was there. There was a faint hum. The automatic massager began to fumble gently over my naked form.
First, it rubbed my arms; then it moved to my legs and so on over my body. As it progressed, I could feel the fine slick of oil that oozed from it working into my dry skin...
(Read more about the automatic massager)