NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Japanese Researchers Develop WalkMate System for Improving Quality of Life of Parkinson's Patients

Friday October 12, 2012

Japanese Researchers Develop WalkMate System for Improving Quality of Life of Parkinson's Patients

Tokyo Tech Bulletin - The unintentional synchronizing of people’s gait as they walk together is a familiar phenomenon. Understanding the mechanisms behind this synchronization could help people with a disturbed gait, such as patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Research by Yoshihiro Miyake at the Department of Computational Intelligence and Systems Science at Tokyo Institute of Technology has helped to demystify the process and led to a new walking support device – ‘Walk Mate’.

Yoshihiro Miyake investigated coupled walking processes between a walking robot and a walking person. The study included people with a healthy gait and people suffering from Parkinson’s disease or hemiplegia due to brain infraction. He used the timing of the walking person as a sensory input for the robot and the sound of a walking rhythm as the robot’s output. An algorithm based on travelling wave dynamics controlled the timing difference between the Walk Mate’s input and output.

The study revealed how people adjust their pace in response to the robot’s audible output. Patients’ stride patterns were healthier using ‘Walk Mate’ and they reported a greater stability and “sense of togetherness” compared with more traditional walking aids that have a fixed rhythm. Further studies in collaboration with researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Department of Neurology at Kanto Central Hospital have underlined the great potential of the device.

“Our approach offers a flexible, portable, low-cost, non-invasive therapeutic intervention that may improve the mobility, stability, and quality of life of Parkinson’s disease patients,” say the inventors.

Further information

Miyake Y (2009) Interpersonal Synchronization of Body Motion and the Walk-Mate Walking Support Robot IEEE Transactions on robotics 25(3): 638-644. Doi: 10.1109/TRO.2009.2020350

Hove MJ, Suzuki K, Uchitomi H, Orimo S, Miyake Y (2012) Interactive Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation Reinstates Natural 1/f Timing in Gait of Parkinson’s Patients. PLoS ONE 7(3): e32600. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0032600

Yoshihiro Miyake website:http://www.myk.dis.titech.ac.jp/2007hp/english/english.html

http://www.titech.ac.jp/bulletin/innovation.html

Recent News

Aug 22 - Parkinson's Disease Could Be Diagnosed Through Eye Check, Mice Help Researchers In Further Study
Aug 22 - Machine learning to unlock Parkinson's disease mystery
Aug 21 - Cognitive control plays major role in Parkinson’s Gait
Aug 15 - 'I've Never Felt Constrained': After Parkinson's Diagnosis, Chestnut Hill Man Turns To Drumming
Aug 11 - Virtual reality and treadmill training could help prevent falls in older adults
Aug 9 - New laboratory model replicates early phase of Parkinson's before onset of motor symptoms
Aug 8 - Marshall University Scientists Develop A New Approach For Parkinson’s Disease Therapy
Aug 5 - Cambuslang woman diagnosed with Parkinson's at 42 is set to trek through Alps
Aug 4 - Active Music Therapy May Be Beneficial in Parkinson's
Aug 1 - Mini-Brains? Scientists Grow Rice Grain-Sized Brains to Aid Parkinson’s Research
Jul 30 - Lab method sheds light on how genetic mutations cause inherited Parkinson's disease
Jul 27 - Indicators of Parkinson's disease risk found in unexpected places
Jul 24 - Parkinson's: Mutant gene interaction may pave the way for new treatments
Jul 22 - Boxing training used to fight against Parkinson's disease
Jul 17 - Stem cell treatment breakthrough could cure Parkinson’s patients
Jul 14 - Cancer drug shows early promise for Parkinson's disease
Jul 13 - Opinion: Dividing the Caregiving Responsibilities Between Siblings
Jul 12 - Researchers make advance in possible treatments for Gaucher, Parkinson’s diseases
Jul 11 - Parkinson’s Head Trauma Link Looks Even Stronger
Jul 7 - Penn students’ start-up XEED puts wearables to work against Parkinson’s disease