Yong-Lae Park, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has developed a device made of soft, wearable material that could help in the rehabilitation of patients with neuromuscular disorders associated with cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als), multiple sclerosis or stroke, and ankle-foot disorders like drop foot.
This device, composed of soft plastics and composite materials, mimics the muscles and ligaments of the human leg, and is not rigid like an exoskeleton because of which it has the ability to incorporate lightweight sensors and ultimately achieve natural motion by mimicking the biological structure of the lower leg. This device’s composition allows the wearer to achieve a normal walking gait (moving the foot side to side at 27 degrees).
Park says that this device can be modified to create rehabilitation devices for other parts of the body too. The next steps with this device are to determine its performance as a rehabilitation tool and also to use much lighter material to form the “muscles” of the leg.
Here is a quick demo of this device.