Researchers said they have developed a new robotic system to diagnose knee osteoarthritis with data of stepping movements.
Kang Sang-hoon, a professor of the Department of Design and Control Engineering at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), said on Tuesday he and some professors at Korea Institute of Science and Technology and the University of Maryland conducted the joint study to develop such system.
The system diagnoses knee osteoarthritis by reading gait data, analyzes them, and provides real-time treatment and rehabilitation.
The conventional five-grade diagnosis, by X-ray readings and a doctor’s opinion, makes it difficult to identify various symptoms, including pain objectively, the research team said.
|A robotic system that diagnoses knee osteoarthritis and provides rehabilitation training (Credit: Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology)|
Motion Analysis Laboratory can measure the knee rotational force, but the equipment is expensive and requires a long time for data collection and processing. This places a heavy burden on patients.
The research team has combined a robotic system with neuro-biomechanics to create a new system, which can be used in facilities where exercise equipment can be installed anywhere.
While a patient walks on an elliptical trainer, the system measures the force on the stepping plate and ankle movements and calculates all the forces on the knee joint real-time to determine the severity of the osteoarthritis.
The research team said the new system could offer patients an efficient way of walking, non-surgical treatment, and rehabilitation.
The new robotic system is affordable, compared to conventional Motion Analysis Laboratory, and allows real-time data collection and analysis, the researchers said.
“This technology can provide diagnostic assistance with objective data for people who have knee osteoarthritis and advanced biofeedback rehabilitation training,” Kang said. “In Ulsan hospitals where industrial accident insurance is covered and rehabilitation hospitals, the new system will contribute to the advancement of customized robot-assisted rehabilitation.”
The study was published in the June issue (Volume 27) of IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering.
The research received support from the National Rehabilitation Center’s “Rehabilitation Robot Research Service Program,” the National Research Foundation of Korea’s Basic Research Program, the National Research Council of Science and Technology, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research.