Ankle Rehabilitation Device to Prevent Contracture Using a Pneumatic Balloon Actuator
Norihiko Saga*, Naoki Saito**, and Jun-ya Nagase*
*Department of Human System Interaction, Kwansei Gakuin University, 2-1 Gakuen, Sanda, Hyogo 669-1337, Japan
**Department of Machine Intelligence and Systems Engineering, Akita Prefectural University, 84-4 Tsuchiya Ebinokuchi, Yurihonjo, Akita 015-0055, Japan
Our proposed rehabilitation device to prevent contracture of the ankle is easy to produce, transport, and install at the time of use in places such as medical institutions. This device is intended for use by hemiplegic people. The ankle is moved when it is worn, preventing ankle contracture. It consists of a new tendon-drive system using a pneumatic balloon actuator, power transfer mechanism, and ankle foot orthosis. This new tendon drive system using a pneumatic balloon was developed as an actuator of this device. The system consists of a tendon and a silicone tube. Both ends of the tube are closed. The tube expands with the supplied air, which distends the silicone tube and thereby pulls the tendon. This simple system is both compact and powerful. Furthermore, its materials and structure make it light. This paper describes characteristics of this tendon drive system using a pneumatic balloon, along with its composition and operation as a rehabilitation device for preventing ankle contracture. Results of operation tests using the device are also presented.
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