A Comprehensive Analysis of Sensorimotor Mechanisms of Inter-Leg Coordination in Gait Using the Variable Stiffness Treadmill: Physiological Insights for Improved Robot-Assisted Gait Therapy

Jeffrey Skidmore, Panagiotis Artemiadis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Rehabilitation robotics is an emerging field in which gait training has been largely automated allowing more intensive, repetitive motions which are important for facilitating recovery. However, there is no clear evidence that robot-assisted gait training is superior to conventional therapy. A limitation of current approaches to gait therapy is that they do not consider mechanisms of inter-leg coordination and how the sensory feedback from one leg affects the motion of the other leg. Instead they impose motion on the impaired limb. Recent research suggests that utilizing the coupling between limbs in stroke rehabilitation therapies could lead to improved functional outcome. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of underlying sensorimotor mechanisms of inter-leg coordination may facilitate improved interventions in gait therapy. This paper systematically explores and analyzes a sensorimotor mechanism of inter-leg coordination that is stimulated through sudden unilateral low-stiffness perturbations to the walking surface. The potential contribution of each sensory modality to the perception and response of the perturbation will be investigated. Additionally, the neural pathway that relays the sensory signal into the motor output will be described in order to fully characterize this sensorimotor mechanism of inter-leg coordination. This work provides physiological understanding of inter-leg coordination that will benefit robot-assisted gait therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE ... International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics : [proceedings]
Volume2019
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

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Gait
Leg
Therapeutics
Extremities
Neural Pathways
Sensory Feedback
Robotics
Walking
Rehabilitation
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Rehabilitation robotics is an emerging field in which gait training has been largely automated allowing more intensive, repetitive motions which are important for facilitating recovery. However, there is no clear evidence that robot-assisted gait training is superior to conventional therapy. A limitation of current approaches to gait therapy is that they do not consider mechanisms of inter-leg coordination and how the sensory feedback from one leg affects the motion of the other leg. Instead they impose motion on the impaired limb. Recent research suggests that utilizing the coupling between limbs in stroke rehabilitation therapies could lead to improved functional outcome. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of underlying sensorimotor mechanisms of inter-leg coordination may facilitate improved interventions in gait therapy. This paper systematically explores and analyzes a sensorimotor mechanism of inter-leg coordination that is stimulated through sudden unilateral low-stiffness perturbations to the walking surface. The potential contribution of each sensory modality to the perception and response of the perturbation will be investigated. Additionally, the neural pathway that relays the sensory signal into the motor output will be described in order to fully characterize this sensorimotor mechanism of inter-leg coordination. This work provides physiological understanding of inter-leg coordination that will benefit robot-assisted gait therapies.",
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