Engineering majors design physiotherapy robot for stroke victims

Three Birzeit University mechanical and mechatronics engineering majors have designed a robot that rehabilitates patients who suffer from partial or complete post-stroke paralysis. 

The robot, designed by Wisam Al-Tel, Basil Frijat, and Salim Atari, mimics the motions and techniques of a physical therapist and helps patients relearn motor activities such as walking and standing. 

“Since the patient doesn’t have to book an appointment with a physiotherapist, and because the robot offers the option to exercise with various levels of support to allow focus on an injured area for a longer time with less exhaustion of the muscles,” the students argue, “a physical therapy session with the robot is less expensive and more efficient than a comparable traditional session.” 

Ameer Sider, instructor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and the project’s supervisor, explained, “The robot helps patients move their muscles and joints in a fashion − determined by a specialized physiotherapist − that helps their recovery and rehabilitation.” 

Sider highlighted the robot’s LabVIEW platform that allows medical personnel to monitor the rehabilitation progress. It includes a database for the medical and treatment needs of patients, determines how many physiotherapy sessions are required, and introduces changes and adaptations as needed.