Therapy robots a success with recovering stroke victims, research finds

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An experimental “socially assistive” robot has been shown to get better results in elderly rehabilitation patients than human therapists, preliminary research finds.

Individuals recovering from strokes tend to be more compliant with their rehabilitation regimen with the assistance of a robot engineered by scientists at the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering, USA Today reported. Residents of a Southern California rehab facility are more inclined to complete strenuous, repetitive exercises with the robot, which is named Bandit, than they are when working with a human therapist, according to researchers.

"It was definitely fun," Steve Dimon, a 63-year-old recovering stroke patient told the newspaper after working with the robot. “It was like a diversion from the tediousness of rehab."

USC researchers launched a study in mid-June comparing improvement in the recovery of stroke patients working with the robot, versus patients who interacted with another person.

Experts say that robots like Bandit are still about 10 years away from being available commercially.

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