Chicago—Physical therapist Ela Lewis,
MSPT, is about to do something that would be considered a grave error in any
other setting. Her patient, a 65-year-old man, was left with impaired balance
and walking ability after a stroke 10 years ago. To challenge his sense of
balance Lewis throws a ball toward her patient, just outside his reach.
Many similarly impaired individuals would fall if they tried to catch
the ball; others wouldn’t attempt to catch it for fear of falling. And
no responsible therapist would ever risk injuring a patient. But Lewis and
her patient are demonstrating a novel robotic device that keeps him upright
and allows his therapist to use exercises that otherwise would be unthinkable.
Voelker R. Rehabilitation Medicine Welcomes a Robotic Revolution. JAMA. 2005;294(10):1191-1195. doi:10.1001/jama.294.10.1191