Wednesday January 22, 2020

Researchers Invent New Robotic Device To Treat Spinal Cord Injury

The test was repeated in eight directions, and the researchers used the results to compute the sitting workspace of each individual

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Spinal cord
Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can cause devastating damage, including loss of mobility and sensation. Pixabay

 A Columbia Engineering team led by an Indian scientist has invented a robotic device that can be used to assist and train people with spinal cord injuries to sit more stably by improving their trunk control, gaining an expanded active sitting workspace without falling over or using their hands to balance.

Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can cause devastating damage, including loss of mobility and sensation.

“We designed TruST for people with SCIs who are typically wheelchair users. We found that TruST not only prevents patients from falling, but also maximises trunk movements beyond patients’ postural control, or balance limits,” said Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine.

The study, published in the journal Spinal Cord Series and Cases, is the first to measure and define the sitting workspace of patients with spinal cord injuries based on their active trunk control with help from the “Trunk-Support Trainer (TruST)” robotic device.

The robotic trunk is a motorised-cable driven belt placed on the user’s torso to determine the postural control limits and sitting workspace area in people with spinal cord injuries.

It delivers forces on the torso when the user performs upper body movements beyond the postural stability limits while sitting.

The five patients who participated in the pilot study were examined with the Postural Star-Sitting Test, a customised postural test that required them to follow a ball with their head and move their trunk as far as possible, without using their hands.

The test was repeated in eight directions, and the researchers used the results to compute the sitting workspace of each individual.

The team then tailored the robotic device for each subject to apply personalised assistive force fields on the torso while the subjects performed the same movements again.

With the ‘TruST’, the subjects were able to reach further during the trunk excursions in all eight directions and significantly expand the sitting workspace around their bodies, on an average of about 25 per cent more.

“The capacity of ‘TruST’ to deliver continuous force-feedback personalised for the user’s postural limits opens new frontiers to implement motor learning-based paradigms to retrain functional sitting in people with SCI,” says Victor Santamaria, a physical therapist, postdoctoral researcher in Agrawal’s Robotics and Rehabilitation Laboratory.

Spinal Cord
A Columbia Engineering team led by an Indian scientist has invented a robotic device that can be used to assist and train people with spinal cord injuries to sit more stably by improving their trunk control, gaining an expanded active sitting workspace without falling over or using their hands to balance. Pixabay

Agrawal’s team is now exploring the use of TruST within a training paradigm to improve the trunk control of adults and children with spinal cord injury.

“The robotic platform will be used to train participants with the SCI by challenging them to move their trunk over a larger workspace, with the TruST providing assist-as-needed force fields to safely bring the subjects back to their neutral sitting posture,” elaborated Agrawal.

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“This force field will be adjusted to the needs of the participants over time as they improve their workspace and posture control,” he added. (IANS)

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Digital Transactions in Delhi-NCR Grew by 235% Last Year: Razorpay

Online transactions in Delhi-NCR grew 235% in 2019

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Online Transactions
Online transactions in Delhi-NCR grew by 235 per cent in 2019 and it was the third most digitized region in 2019. Pixabay

Digital transactions in Delhi-NCR grew by 235 per cent from 2018 (January-December) to 2019 (January-December) and the region was the third most digitised state in 2019, thus, contributing 13.05 per cent in 2019 (up from 10.9 per cent in 2018), said a new report by full-stack financial services company Razorpay on Tuesday.

“The last year has been buzzing for the fintech sector in Delhi, with the adoption of new digital payment modes and bringing the digital currency to the mainstream. The last six months saw a tremendous shift in the consumption patterns of businesses and consumer preferences of digital payments in the region.

“With UPI growing by a whopping 442 per cent in Delhi, I am certain that this payment method will overtake cards by at least 20 per cent in the next 12 months,” Harshil Mathur, CEO and co-founder of Razorpay, said in a statement.

Online Transactions
Credit and Debit cards contributed 46 per cent in digital transactions. Pixabay

In 2019, Karnataka saw the highest adoption of digital payments (26.64 per cent) followed by Maharashtra (15.92 per cent) and Delhi NCR (13.01 per cent).

While the usage of cards (46 per cent) and netbanking (11 per cent) saw a decline in 2019, down from 56 per cent and 23 per cent for cards and netbanking, respectively in 2018, UPI (38 per cent) went up from 17 per cent in 2018.

Amazon Pay was the most preferred wallet among consumers (33 per cent), followed by Ola Money (17 per cent) in 2019.

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The top three sectors in digital payment adoption for 2019 were food and beverage (26 per cent), financial services (12.5 per cent) and transportation (8 per cent).

Among UPI, Google Pay contributed 59 per cent, PhonePe contributed 26 per cent, followed by Paytm (7 per cent) and BHIM (6 per cent) in digital transactions in 2019. (IANS)