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Published:March 25th, 2013 16:07 EST
Humanoid Robot Adds 'Out of the Box' Thinking to Treat Stroke Patients

Humanoid Robot Adds 'Out of the Box' Thinking to Treat Stroke Patients

By Ron G Anselm

"Technology is an ever-growing and ever-changing reality for us. Without advancements in technology our world would be reduced to nothing more than the use of whatever means we could find to keep us moving forward." (Anselm, R.) 

And this is so true. In today`s world we need technological advancements in all facets of our life and daily routines. Many uses of technological advancements have come in the medical industry where scientists and doctors continue to try to not only find cures for cancer but how to make the home medical industry more patient friendly with extensive success. 

One major experiment that involved therapy for an elderly stroke patient was the use of a humanoid robot that delivered speech and physical therapy to that patient. This is amazing because as we know if any of you have ever worked in the medical industry there is really a shortage of therapists and a shortage of therapists that can travel to patient`s homes to give critical and very needed therapy especially for the ones that are trying to recover from a stroke. 

This robotic humanoid robotic physical therapist experiment showed positive gains in the patient in the area of speech and physical therapy and showed a notable improvement in the quality of life in that one patient. 

Speech and language pathologist and the study leader for this project by the name of Yu-kyong Choe commented on this breakthrough by saying,, "It`s clear from our study of a 72-year-old male stroke client that a personal humanoid robot can help people recover by delivering therapy such as word-retrieval games and arm movement tasks in an enjoyable and engaging way." (Yu-kyong, C.) 

With this positive outcome from just this one experiment for stroke patients think of the future gains that could come from this for people that suffer from traumatic brain injuries such as our many veterans that have returned from the Middle-East that have been the victim of roadside bombs and for anyone else that has suffered any type of debilitating injuries that have left them physical disabled. 

One of the objectives of this experiment using a humanoid robot was to assess how therapy interventions in one of the domains of speech affected the other domain of physical therapy. Many physicians were stumped until now of how interacting these two types of therapies together affected the progress of the recovery of patients. In most cases when the patient went for their therapy they would go through the speech part of the therapy and then say a half an hour later go through the physical part of their therapy now this experiment showed physicians the added benefits of separating the two types of therapies for faster recovery in patients. 

This particular elderly stroke patient with aphasia and physical disability on one side completed the robot-mediated program of only the speech therapy which lasted five straight weeks and then went on to the physical therapy part which also lasted five weeks. 

The experiment proved to show over the course of it the client made notable gains in the frequency and range of the upper-limb movements. The patient also made positive gains in verbal expression. Physicians have noted this patient made the significant gains in progress of treatment when the two therapies were separated from one another and the patient`s only focused on one therapy at a time over a certain time period. So, the physicians summarized that in such a sequential schedule the speech and physical therapy functions were more than likely competing for the limited resources available in the brain. When you are treating a stroke patient as we know the patient only as limited uses of various parts of their brain. The humanoid robot is known by uBot-5 and is a childlike sized robot unit that has arms and a computer screen and is how the therapist interacts with the patient. 

So, performing treatments to patients in this manner will open the door to more therapist being able to reach the over three or more million Americans that suffer from the effects of strokes. It will open the door to be able to reach a lot of those patients that live in rural areas and keep those patients in their home while receiving their treatment. 

"Stroke rehabilitation is such a monumental financial problem everywhere in the world, that`s where it can pay for itself," he adds. "A personal robot could save billions of dollars in elder care while letting people stay in their own homes and communities. We`re hoping for a win-win where our elders live better, more independent and productive lives and our overtaxed healthcare resources are used more effectively." (Yu-kyong, C.) 

So, as we grow and advance in technology and take the "out of the box" thinking approach to solving many issues in many facets of life especially in the medical industry; we will eventually prove that no matter what the issue is especially for patients suffering from a stroke that there is nothing that can stand in our way to defeat any medical problem that any of us may be faced with. Pray and use technology as our resource and we will come out on top every time.



 Robot-Delivered Speech and Physical Therapy a Success 


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