NeXOS – The design, development and evaluation of a rehabilitation system for the lower limbs
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Recent years have seen the development of a number of automated and semi-automated systems to support for physiotherapy and rehabilitation. These deploy a range of technologies from highly complex purpose built systems to approaches based around the use of industrial robots operating either individually or in combination for applications ranging from stroke to mobility enhancement. The NeXOS project set out to investigate an approach to the rehabilitation of the lower limbs in a way which brought together expertise in engineering design and mechatronics with specilists in rehabilitation and physiotherapy. The resulting system has resulted in a prototype of a system which is capable in operating in a number of modes from fully independent to providing direct support to a physiotherapist during manipulation of the limb. Designed around a low cost approach for an implementation ultimately capable of use in a patients home using web-baased strategies for communication with their support team, the prototype NeXOS system has validated the adoption of an integrated approach to its development. The paper considers this design and development process and provides the results from the initial tests with physiotherapists to establish the operational basis for clinical implementation.