A robotic jacket that helps stroke victims recover from partial paralysis has been developed in Japan.
Four pressure sensors in the jacket-like device detect the muscle movements in the healthy arm and wrist, the jacket analyzes this data and sends compressed air to the affected arm, where eight artificial muscles expand and contract in the same way as the movement in the healthy arm. Researchers hope repeated therapy will bring back the regular functioning of the damaged limb.
In the next two months, rehabilitation specialists will try out the robotic jacket to check its safety and other aspects. In January, at least 10 stroke patients will participate in the trials.
The jacket currently weighs about 2.5 kilograms, but researchers would like to make it lighter. The team hopes to have the product on the market in spring 2008.