Background: Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common cause of permanent serious physical disability in childhood. Although many platforms have been developed, so far there are still not precise guidelines for the rehabilitation of the population with CP. The CPWalker is a robotic platform for the rehabilitation of children with CP, through which they can start experiencing autonomous locomotion in the rehabilitation environment. It allows the possibility of free movement and includes physical and cognitive interfaces into the therapy. The main objective of this work is to evaluate the effects of the CPWalker-based rehabilitation intervention in children with CP by comparing different gait parameters before, during and after the use of the platform. Findings: The evaluation was divided in three stages where the gait parameters and symmetry indexes of eight subjects with CP were evaluated. In the first stage patients walked only with the help they receive normally in daily life. During the second stage they walked with the CPWalker and finally, in the third stage, they repeated their gait without the platform. In all stages they wore an inertial G-Sensor while walking through the hospital facilities. The results showed statistical significant differences in several spatio-temporal parameters, pelvic angles and general gait cycle parameters, with and without the use of the robotic device. For the eight patients: cadence, speed and stride length presented similar values when comparing before and after the therapy. However, they decreased during the intervention (both means and standard deviations). No significant differences were found in the symmetry indexes with the use of the platform. In spite of this, a reduction in the pelvic angles ranges and propulsion was observed. Conclusions: The effect of using the device was analyzed for spatio-temporal parameters, pelvic girdle angles and general gait cycle parameters. Among the eighteen initial parameters, seven presented a statistical significant difference when comparing stage 2 of the intervention with stages 1 and 3. Those changes showed the potential of the CPWalker to improve muscular strength and gait patterns of the patients with CP in the long term and to provide useful information for the design of the future generations of rehabilitation robotic devices.
- Cerebral Palsy
- Rehabilitation robotics