• MIT-Skywalker: Considerations on the Design of a Body Weight Support System

      Gonçalves, R.S.; Krebs, H.I. (BioMed Central Ltd., 2017)
      Background: To provide body weight support during walking and balance training, one can employ two distinct embodiments: support through a harness hanging from an overhead system or support through a saddle/seat type. This paper presents a comparison of these two approaches. Ultimately, this comparison determined our selection of the body weight support system employed in the MIT-Skywalker, a robotic device developed for the rehabilitation/habilitation of gait and balance after a neurological injury. Method: Here we will summarize our results with eight healthy subjects walking on the treadmill without any support, with 30% unloading supported by a harness hanging from an overhead system, and with a saddle/seat-like support system. We compared the center of mass as well as vertical and mediolateral trunk displacements across different walking speeds and support. Results: The bicycle/saddle system had the highest values for the mediolateral inclination, while the overhead harness body weight support showed the lowest values at all speeds. The differences were statistically significant. Conclusion: We selected the bicycle/saddle system for the MIT-Skywalker. It allows faster don-and-doff, better centers the patient to the split treadmill, and allows all forms of training. The overhead harness body weight support might be adequate for rhythmic walking training but limits any potential for balance training. Copyright 2017 The Author(s).
    • Sleep deprivation affects gait control

      Umemura, Guilherme S; Pinho, João Pedro; Duysens, Jacques; Krebs, Hermano Igo; Forner-Cordero, Arturo (Springer Nature, 2021-10-26)
      Different levels of sleep restriction affect human performance in multiple aspects. However, it is unclear how sleep deprivation affects gait control. We applied a paced gait paradigm that included subliminal rhythm changes to analyze the effects of different sleep restriction levels (acute, chronic and control) on performance. Acute sleep deprivation (one night) group exhibited impaired performance in the sensorimotor synchronization gait protocol, such as a decrease in the Period Error between the footfalls and the auditory stimulus as well as missing more frequently the auditory cues. The group with chronic sleep restriction also underperformed when compared to the control group with a tendency to a late footfall with respect to the RAC sound. Our results suggest that partial or total sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in the performance in the sensorimotor control of gait. The superior performance of the chronic sleep group when compared to the acute group suggests that there is a compensatory mechanism that helps to improve motor performance.