University of Delaware OEIP
University of Delaware

Garment-Based Body-Weight Support Harness

Technology #ud17-51

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Researchers
Eryn Gerber
Anahid Ebrahimi
Taylor Pearlstein
SaiSri Gajjala
Jill Higginson
Dr. Higginson’s research interests include Musculoskeletal Modeling and Simulation, Neuromuscular Coordination, and gait.
External Link (sites.udel.edu)
Steven Stanhope
Dr. Stanhope’s research interests include biomechanics, orthopaedic rehabilitation, prosthetics, orthotics, and human movement analysis.
External Link (sites.udel.edu)
Managed By
Gill Prabhpreet
Sr. Licensing Associate 3028310783

APPLICATIONS:

This novel harness is intended for gait-training and rehabilitation in a clinical and/or private setting. The technology may also have applications for research and recreational purposes.

PROBLEMS ADDRESSED:

In the United States alone, nearly 800,000 people suffer from a stroke and about 185,000 people need lower limb amputations yearly. Traumatic neurological injuries and amputations often lead to clinical rehabilitation in order to relearn how to walk and move limbs. Currently, the harnesses needed for this physical therapy are not ideal in the fact that they are typically uncomfortable and often restrict certain body movements. Faculty at the University of Delaware have designed a harness that is made of soft fabrics and lifts from the body’s center of mass. This optimizes the rehabilitation success by allowing for a more natural progression in recovery.

BENEFITS:

  • Garment-based, more comfortable than current support harnesses on the market
  • Facilitates natural gait and movement
  • Comfortable harness may be worn longer- optimizes rehabilitation success
  • Provides support from the garment itself rather than rigid straps
  • Improves overall patient success rates

TECHNOLOGY DESCRIPTION:

This novel technology is an enhanced rehabilitation harness that is intended to mimic real-world conditions in order to minimize transition complication between treadmill and over ground walking as well as weighted and unweighted walking. The harness is connected to an overhead lifting system and consists of a load cell, that is programmed to actively offload the desired percentage of body weight, along with retroreflective markers to track motion. This garment-based harness was designed with materials that are comfortable and meant for long term sessions.

STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT: Two prototypes have been developed.