IIT Madras

IIT Madras collaborates with Portescap to create Arm Rehabilitation Robot for people with arm impairments

IIT Madras and Portescap aim to develop solutions like ‘Arm Rehabilitation Robot’ to assist people with arm impairments and improve their life

IIT Madras is collaborating with the Motion Technology Firm Portescap to develop medical innovation using Robotics for rehabilitation. This CSR Project also involves Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore, a premier medical institution located in Vellore. This Project, facilitated by the Office of Institutional Advancement, IIT Madras, will focus on creating an innovative rehabilitation robot – AREBO (Arm Rehabilitation Robot) – for people with arm impairments.

AREBO is a six-degrees-of-freedom robot for training individual joint movements at the shoulder and elbow for persons with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions such as stroke, arthritis, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease, among others. The design of this robot allows it to be easily connected to either the left or right arm of a user, and provides safe training of the arm.

Led by Prof Sujatha Srinivasan, Faculty Head, TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2), IIT Madras, and Prof. Sivakumar Balasubramanian, CMC Vellore, such innovations significantly improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities. They also serve as a tool for therapists to remotely monitor performance and plan therapy accordingly.

Highlighting the unique aspects of this collaboration, Prof. Sujatha Srinivasan, Professor and Head R2D2, IIT Madras said: “The project leverages the strengths of R2D2 in developing and taking to market, functional and affordable devices for movement disability, while also drawing from the bioengineering and clinical expertise of CMC. Research and Development costs covered through CSR support are crucial to achieve the eventual goal of taking high-quality devices to the market at affordable prices.”

Regarding the outcomes envisaged under this CSR Project, Prof. Sivakumar Balasubramanian, Head, Department of Bioengineering, CMC Vellore, said: “AREBO is the result of our approach towards simplifying rehabilitation robots, which is necessary for routine clinical use. We expect to have a simple, compact, easy-to-use, and safe robot ready for large-scale clinical trials through this collaboration. Bringing this device to the market will require understanding as to how this device fits into routine clinical practice and its added value to patients and clinicians.”

As a second project, also funded by Portescap, IIT Madras has partnered with Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata, to develop a lower limb exoskeleton for ‘Gait Training’ of Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury patients and the design is in progress. This project is being led by Prof Sourav Rakshit, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras. 

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