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REHAB INSIDER • January 2017 Vol.1 No.1

cover story 11 independence. The most recent study he has taken part in involves the use of microelectrode arrays and a robotic arm created at Johns Hopkins University for a patient with a spinal cord injury. The patient had been paralyzed for 10 years prior to the study. According to Gaunt, the patient can control five to seven degrees of freedom and quickly reach out, grab objects and move around using the robotic arm. In fact, he is able to perform some simple tasks with the speed of a normally functioning arm. Microelectrode arrays have also been placed JANUARY 2017  |  REHAB INSIDER in the patient’s somatosensory cortex. While using the arm, the patient can also feel sensation through the arm. “This type of prosthetic is more of an assistive device, and hopefully there will be more things like this in the future,” Gaunt said. “For SCI, it would be ideal to reanimate the patient’s own paralyzed muscle, but that turns out to be very difficult. We still have a lot more work to do to understand how to use these devices reliably. As a clinical therapy, were still far away.” In terms of rehabilitation using robotics, Shriners Hospital for Children-Chicago’s rehabilitation team has joined the technological movement. Their facility regularly uses upper-extremity exoskeletons as a robotic rehabilitation tool. In addition EXOSKELETONS Shriners Hospital for Children-Chicago uses robotic exoskeletons for patients in need of upper-extremity rehabilitation. The facility also uses other forms of technology. illustration / Matthew Taraborrelli


REHAB INSIDER • January 2017 Vol.1 No.1
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