Gross motor skills such as reach and rotation of the elbow and shoulder carried out by the arm are essential for everyday tasks. Arm movements may become impaired by weakness in arm muscles and neurological functions resulting from a stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, or other neurological conditions.
In 1989 the Newman Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began to pioneer exoskeletal robots to assist in therapy for neurological injuries and conditions. The MIT-Manus was the first robot project designed specifically for arm recovery. In 1994, Burke Medical Research Institute trialed the MIT-Manus to evaluate the effects on health outcomes and to provide evidence based feedback for improving the next generation of the device.
From years of development and research the InMotion Planar Robot by Bionik Laboratories is currently offered at the Restorative Neurology Clinic to accelerate neurorehabilitation to revitalize arm movement and function following a neurological condition. InMotion Planar robotic assisted therapy focuses on the full arm from the shoulder, elbow to the forearm, designed specifically to improve range of motion, coordination, muscle strength, movement speed and precision. Therapy sessions with the InMotion Planar robot are customized and tailored to each individual’s recovery goals.
While sitting in a chair and facing a front of a monitor, the forearm, wrist and hand are secured to the robotic arm and joystick. Targets on a computer game guide the individual to move their arm to perform repetitive therapy exercises. Throughout each training session, the individual completes a series of flexion, extension, protraction, retraction and rotational movements across the elbow and shoulder joints. If an arm is initially paralyzed or has limited movement the robot will move the arm gently to build strength, engage muscle memory and awakening neuro-plasticity to restore motor function. As repetitive movements improve the robotic computer games adapt and challenge the individual to reach optimal recovery.