Neuromuscular feedback therapy is helping patients disabled by stroke, spinal cord injury and muscular disease. The procedure, displayed during conhIT, uses Cyberdyne’s Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL), a robotic exoskeleton controlled by conscious neural impulses.
When the patient’s brain emits “let’s walk” instructions to the muscles, sensors detect weak nerve signals reaching the skin of the legs. HAL recognizes what kind of movement the wearer wants to undertake. Its motor units respond by assisting the patient to walk via cybernic voluntary control, which replicates human motion.
In addition, a neuromuscular feedback system helps the brain learn what kind of neuronal signals to send in order to launch walking activity. Thus, the HAL suit physically supports the patient, enables walking and facilitates therapy designed to retrain the patient to walk independently. As they heal, patients using HAL have demonstrated improvements in endurance, balance and spatial awareness.