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Speeding up rehabilitation
HYPER research project has an ambitious aim – to speed up the recovery
process of people who suffer motor disability. To do this the
researchers are using neurorobotics, neuroprosthetics and virtual
reality to improve the life quality of patients whose mobility is
The research is taking place in Spain with the participation of the IK4
Research Alliance under the coordination of the Spanish National
Scientific Research Council (CSIC). It has a budget of 5 million euros.
The project has been up and running since 2010 and has led to the
development of a suite of innovative systems that facilitate new
rehabilitation therapies and new systems to compensate gait in patients
who have had spinal cord injuries or cerebral strokes. So far, various
prototypes have been developed and one of them is undergoing a
preliminary clinical validation process with 10 patients with spinal
cord injuries at the National Hospital for Paraplegics in Toledo.
These encouraging results have led to the project being extended for a
further year with funding from the Spanish Government’s
Within the framework of the project IK4 has developed in collaboration
with the HYPER partners a sophisticated rehabilitation prototype for
patients with stroke or spinal cord injury; it is based on the use of an
exoskeleton that monitors arm movements, makes a high-precision
appraisal of the patient’s posture in real time and uses virtual reality
to recreate everyday life situations.
The main advantage of these tools lies in the fact that they will allow
the rehabilitation processes to start earlier, are conducted more
intensively and in a way that is more pleasant for the patient, and they
contribute towards faster, more complete recovery.
The systems also facilitate a quantitative
analysis of the progress the patients make, which will be very useful in
the clinical evaluation of the rehabilitation process. “It has been
possible to meet this challenge through the work of a multidisciplinary
team with technical as well as clinical researchers from national
centres of excellence,” said Eduardo Carrasco, head of the project at
One of the main challenges they will be facing in the future is “to
validate the therapies developed in clinical trials with broad
populations of patients and to make use
of these solutions commercially”, he added.
The role of IK4
In the initiative the VICOMTECH-IK4 centre has been responsible for
exploring the potential of virtual reality in the project, while
IK4-CIDETEC has undertaken to develop the sensors that are inserted into
the prostheses and measure the pressure in order to respond naturally to
the movement ordered by the patient.
of upload: 20th Mar 2015
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