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ZeroG: Overground gait and balance training system

Author(s): Joseph Hidler, PhD | David Brennan, MBE | iian Black, MBE | Diane Nichols, PT | Kathy Brady, MSPT | Tobias Nef, PhD

Journal: Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
ISSN 0748-7711

Volume: 48;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 287;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: activities of daily living | balance | body-weight support | functional independence | gait | rehabilitation | robotics | spinal cord injury | stroke | walking.

A new overground body-weight support system called ZeroG has been developed that allows patients with severe gait impairments to practice gait and balance activities in a safe, controlled manner. The unloading system is capable of providing up to 300 lb of static support and 150 lb of dynamic (or constant force) support using a custom-series elastic actuator. The unloading system is mounted to a driven trolley, which rides along an overhead rail. We evaluated the performance of ZeroG's unloading system, as well as the trolley tracking system, using benchtop and human-subject testing. Average root-mean-square and peak errors in unloading were 2.2 and 7.2 percent, respectively, over the range of forces tested while trolley tracking errors were less than 3 degrees, indicating the system was able to maintain its position above the subject. We believe training with ZeroG will allow patients to practice activities that are critical to achieving functional independence at home and in the community.
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