Roberto Coltraro, David Damiani, Daniel Fischman, Kelly Fox, Lingwei “Will” Kong, Tyler Poon, and Daniel Prestridge
The “Gait-er Aid” system is an innovative solution for gait rehabilitation built on simplicity. First, our unique, lightweight aluminum frame is designed to roll up to most elliptical systems using leveling casters, allowing for precise positioning and locking. Another important component of the system is the lifting mechanism, which relies on lead screws and a Nema stepper motor. A Technora (Kevlar) rope goes from the stepper motor to a commercial lifting harness, which is safely attached to a participant. To provide continuous weight offset throughout the workout, a force-based close-loop feedback system is used. This ensures that the rope tension identified by the desired weight offset is maintained throughout the patient’s workout routine. To control the system, an easily accessible tablet interface controls the system at relatively low cost. This means that weight offset changes can be made during the workout by either the participant or the clinician. For safety purposes, high factors of safety were ensured across all components. Numerous calculations were also performed to prevent other failure mechanisms. To further ensure patient safety, multiple fail-safes were included to prevent harm during normal operation. This includes two switches that terminate the workout program – a dead-man’s switch on one handle and a reed switch attached to a lanyard. Three emergency-kill switches were also included, with one for the patient and two for the clinician.