July 6, 2012
Most biologically-accurate robotic legs could make spinal-injury treatment better
It is important to understand the neuropsychological process behind walking in human to make vital breakthroughs in spinal-injury treatment. For this, researchers at the University of Arizona have devised robot legs that replicate the way humans walk. The robot legs are created with a system that delivers rhythmic muscle signals to control walking similar to the human system where a neural network in the lumbar region of the spine [central pattern generator (CPG)] generates rhythmic muscle signals. The robot legs are the most realistic robot lets ever made for the fact that they have a ‘simple half-centre controlling the hips and a set of reflex responses controlling the lower limb’, which makes the gait to mimic the walking style of humans.
Unlike the previous walking robots this one mimics the underlying human control mechanism which is the core of the movement. And this underlying network is also the vital central pattern generator that explains how a body starts walking again months after spinal cord injury, thus the robot legs could be a great development to understand walking and to create better treatment for spine injuries and rehabilitation.