A Columbia Engineering team has invented a robotic device -- the Trunk-Support Trainer (TruST) -- that can be used to assist and train people with SCIs to sit more stably by improving their trunk control, and thus gain an expanded active sitting workspace without falling over or using their hands to balance. The study, published today in Spinal Cord Series and Cases, is the first to measure and define the sitting workspace of patients with SCI based on their active trunk control.
"We designed TruST for people with SCIs who are typically wheelchair users," says Sunil Agrawal, the project's PI and professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine. "We found that TruST not only prevents patients from falling, but also maximizes trunk movements beyond patients' postural control, or balance limits."
TruST - Driven - Belt - User - Torso
TruST is a motorized-cable driven belt placed on the user's torso to determine the postural control limits and sitting workspace area in people with SCI. It delivers forces on the torso when the user performs upper body movements beyond the postural stability limits while sitting.
The five subjects with SCI who participated in the pilot study were examined with the Postural Star-Sitting Test, a customized postural test that required them to follow a ball with their head and move their trunk as far as possible, without using their hands. The test was repeated...
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