Robot Could Be Model for Better Orthopedic Treatments

Erik Swain

September 1, 2007

1 Min Read
Robot Could Be Model for Better Orthopedic Treatments


RunBot could help orthopedics manufacturers develop better understand the treatment of spinal cord injuries.

A German research team has unveiled improvements to a walking robot that could be used to help doctors better treat spinal cord injuries and other ailments.

RunBot the robot, developed at the University of Göttingen, in Germany, had only been able to walk on flat surfaces and would fall if it tried to walk on a slope. Now, an infrared eye connected to control circuits has enabled it to detect an incline and adjust the way it walks, reports Reuters. It learns to walk by trial and error, falling over until it succeeds.

The findings, published in the journal Computational Biology, compared the RunBot's progress to the way a child learns to walk.

Previous research suggests that the human motor control system consists of a hierarchy of levels where interactions between muscles and the spinal cord work mostly on their own. It gives way to the brain when a higher level of control is needed. The researchers told Reuters that studying a robot to gain a better understanding of how different parts of the body work when walking could pay off with improved devices in the future.

Specifically, they said, it could lead to better prosthetic designs and rehabilitation methods for amputees.

Copyright ©2007 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry

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