Anklebot receives Abell Foundation innovation award
Anklebot: VA Researchers Aim To Help Stroke Patients Improve Their Gait
The Johns Hopkins Alliance for Science and Technology and the University of Maryland have selected a research project at the VA Maryland Health Care System as one of two $50,000 Abell Foundation Award for Excellence in Innovation award recipients for 2015.
The facility received the award for its ankle robot research, known as Anklebot. Developed by the facility's Exercise and Robotics Center of Excellence, in collaboration with the University of Maryland and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Anklebot is used with a treadmill to help improve gait, balance, and range of motion in the lower extremities of stroke survivors, while also allowing researchers to study brain plasticity.
The principal researchers on the project include Dr. Richard Macko, director of the Center; Dr. Anindo Roy, the center's chief robotics engineer; and Dr. Larry Forrester, health research scientist. They study the brain wave patterns of people walking on a treadmill, and use the Anklebot to gradually retrain the brain and muscles of stroke victims, helping them to recapture, to some extent, they way they walked before they had their stroke. As stroke victims move incrementally toward a more normal gait, robotic assistance diminishes, and patients can increasingly perform movements on their own.
More than 200 venture capitalists, biotech entrepreneurs, and business development executives helped to choose the Anklebot for the award, by evaluating a range of presentations from startup and university-affiliated recipients.