Insurance company Sjóvá donated a computer-controlled robot to the National Hospital’s rehabilitation ward yesterday. The robot is used for teaching those who are paralyzed below the waist due to brain or spine injuries to walk again.
The equipment controls the leg movements of patients, so they can walk unsupported on a treadmill, who earlier required considerable assistance with rehabilitation, Morgunbladid reports.
Gerth Larsen, an office worker for the domestic airline Air Iceland, has tried the new robot. “I’m very optimistic and I believe it is helping me. When I use crutches I drag my feet and find it difficult to stay balanced. The robot teaches me to take the steps correctly again,” he said. Larsen became paralyzed following the swelling of his spine in 2004.
Stefán Yngvason, the director of the rehabilitation ward, is also optimistic. “In traditional training we use a treadmill and a suspension device for the patient. Often we needed two people to control the legs,” he said, adding how the robot now performs that task.
“The patient can also control many movements and see what has been achieved. The patients gets a very natural feeling for what it is like to walk,” Yngvason said.