In incomplete spinal cord injured subjects, task-oriented training regimes are applied for enhancement of neuroplasticity to improve gait capacity. However, a sufficient training intensity can only be achieved during the inpatient phase, which is getting shorter and shorter due to economic restrictions. In the clinical environment, complex and expensive robotic devices have been introduced to maintain the duration and the intensity of the training, but up to now only a few exist for continuation of automated locomotion training at home. For continuation of the automated locomotion training at home prototypes of the compact, pneumatically driven orthosis MoreGait have been realized, which generate the key afferent stimuli for activation of the spinal gait pattern generator. Artificial pneumatic muscles with excellent weight-to-force ratio and safety characteristics have been integrated as joint actuators. Additionally, a Stimulative Shoe for generation of the appropriate foot loading pattern has been developed without the need for verticalization of the user. The first results of the pilot study in eight chronic incomplete spinal cord injured subjects indicate that the home-based therapy is safe and feasible. The therapy related improvements of the walking capacity are in the range of locomotion robots used in clinical settings.
©2011 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York