It was the invention of the wheel, which happened 3500 years BC, that changed the whole development of human civilization. The wheel allowed a man to move heavy weights and transport himself. Another great invention made by Galileo Galilei in 1583 – a pendulum, was mostly used in watch design. People learned to measure exact time.
However, the evolution gave a human being such precious gift as legs, which move in accordance with physical properties of a pendulum, and their potential is not fully unlocked yet. The thing is that only insignificant friction force resists free continuous movement of a pendulum and rotation of a wheel.
When developing KineticStep, the key task was to give a man a chance to walk as easily and efficiently as a wheel rolls. However, having solved the main biomechanics problem – optimization of transportation of the general center of man’s mass, the design based on pendulum mechanism interaction also revealed a number of positive effects applicable in medicine. Load on legs joints and spinal column reduced significantly. Ability to walk without knees bending promises possibility of exoskeleton efficient use in case of knee joint injuries or diseases.
The problem of functional interrelations of the nervous system and muscles is a key problem of rehabilitation medicine.
ORTHOSTEP changes radically walking stereotypes: the artificially created way of walking (Pinocchio walk cycle) with unbending knees (hence the name: ORTHO - straight, STEP – a manner of walking) changes oscillation trajectory of the general center of mass from vertical to horizontal.
If a human balance system functions incoherently (for any reason), then phasic muscles are involved in upright pose in addition to postural muscles, which requires much greater and inexpedient consumption of energy. Walking in A. Guskov’s ORTHOSTEP exoskeleton correctly and properly from physiological point of view resets the balance-controlling system, which is an absolute necessity in rehabilitation medicine, especially in neurorehabilitation and orthopedic rehabilitation.
Objective dynamic testing of A. Guskov’s ORTHOSTEP exoskeleton also seems to be very promising in the medicine of high-performance sports.
It is not only tempting but also quite real to enhance human body capabilities in top sports records, avoiding use of doping agents.
Having insufficient observation materials, we however reserve the right to warn elderly people and people having locomotive system problems that ascending on any platforms, heel, etc. reduces steadiness of human body and increases risk of falling.
R.V. Gorovaya, Board Certified in Therapeutic Exercise and Sports Medicine, Center of Rehabilitation Medicine – Lesnaya Polyana Sanatorium, Pyatigorsk, and Medical Rehabilitation Center (South) under the supervision of V.I. Dikul, member of the Academy of Sciences.