Title:
WALKING TRAINING APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Provided is a walking training apparatus including: a walking-assist robot which is worn on a lower half of a body of a walking trainee; a treadmill which has a tread plate moving at a predefined speed which the walking trainee walks on; a load pulling unit which holds a body of the walking trainee upward; and a controller which controls driving of the walking-assist robot, the treadmill, and the load pulling unit, wherein the load pulling unit includes: a harness which is worn on the body of the walking trainee; a main rope which is connected to the harness; a driving motor which operates to pull the main rope so as to pull the harness upward; and a counter-load weight plate unit which applies a counter-load to the walking trainee. Accordingly, the load pulling unit pulls a patient, and a counter-load is appropriately set according to a state of the patient or a purpose of a therapy, so that it is possible to prevent the patient from falling during the waling training, and it is possible to effectively perform rehabilitation training of the patient.



Inventors:
Kim, Tae Yoon (Seoul, KR)
Lee, Dong Chan (Seongnam-si, KR)
Application Number:
13/682726
Publication Date:
05/30/2013
Filing Date:
11/20/2012
Assignee:
P&S MECHANICS CO., LTD. (Seoul, KR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63B23/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090255060EXERCISE MATOctober, 2009Biggs
20120083393EXERCISE CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIESApril, 2012Koelle et al.
20130130873PORTABLE GYMNIC MACHINEMay, 2013Piga
20120157264ALTERNATELY VIBRATORY-TYPE EXERCISE APPARATUSJune, 2012Kim
20090111670WALK SIMULATION APPARATUS FOR EXERCISE AND VIRTUAL REALITYApril, 2009Williams
20080113852Exercise frameMay, 2008Caldwell
20150297944Exercise Machine Carriage SystemOctober, 2015Lagree
20100210426TRAINING DEVICE FOR SPORTSMEN AND CHILDRENAugust, 2010Styopin et al.
20070004562Remote control of treadmillJanuary, 2007Pan et al.
20080227603Telescopic pace-adjusting mechanism of an elliptical cross trainerSeptember, 2008Wang
20150031506RESPIRATORY MUSCLE ENDURANCE TRAINING DEVICE AND METHOD FOR THE USE THEREOFJanuary, 2015Foley et al.



Primary Examiner:
CROW, STEPHEN R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Renaissance IP Law Group LLP (PIP) (Beaverton, OR, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A walking training apparatus comprising: a walking-assist robot which is worn on a lower half of a body of a walking trainee; a treadmill which has a tread plate moving at a predefined speed which the walking trainee walks on; a load pulling unit which holds a body of the walking trainee upward; and a controller which controls driving of the walking-assist robot, the treadmill, and the load pulling unit, wherein the load pulling unit includes: a harness which is worn on the body of the walking trainee; a main rope which is connected to the harness; a driving motor which operates to pull the main rope so as to pull the harness upward; and a counter-load weight plate unit which applies a counter-load to the walking trainee.

2. The walking training apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the load pulling unit further includes a spin lock which is installed on the main rope to be engaged to clamp the main rope with respect to only one-directional tension of the main rope and an auxiliary rope having the one end which is fixed to the spin lock and the other end which is fixed the counter-load weight plate unit.

3. The walking training apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the spin lock includes a ratchet gear which allows the spin lock to clamp the main rope only if tension is exerted on the harness side when the main rope is locked.

4. The walking training apparatus according to claim 2, wherein the counter-load weight plate unit includes: a hollow load which the main rope penetrates; a plurality of unit weight plates which are stacked on an outer surface of the load; a fixing pin which is used to fix the unit weight plates to the load; and a fixing bracket which is fixed on a top surface of the uppermost unit weight plate, which the main rope penetrates a central portion thereof, and which the other end of the auxiliary rope is fixed to.

5. The walking training apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 4, further comprising a rope drooping prevention unit which temporarily accommodates the main rope so as to present the main rope from drooping when the driving motor does not operate.

6. The walking training apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the walking-assist robot includes a hip joint robot which is worn on a hip joint of the walking trainee, a knee joint robot which is worn on a knee joint of the walking trainee, and an ankle joint robot which is worn on an ankle of the walking trainee.

7. The walking training apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 4 and 6, further comprising a robot load balance unit which is connected to the walking-assist robot to support the walking-assist robot upward and to adjust load balance of the walking-assist robot.

8. The walking training apparatus according to claim 7, wherein the robot load balance unit includes a plurality of variable unit weight plates which exert a counter-load on the walking-assist robot.

9. The walking training apparatus according to claim 8, wherein the robot load balance unit further includes a spring which elastically supports the unit weight plates.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED PATENT APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of Korean Patent Application No. 10-2011-0123518, filed on Nov. 24, 2004, in the Korean Intellectual Property Office, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein in its entirety by reference.

BACKGROUND

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to a walking training apparatus for rehabilitation of persons with walking handicap, and more particularly, a walking training apparatus capable of pulling a load for the walking trainee upward and setting a counter-load suitable for the walking trainee according to a state of the walking trainee and a purpose of rehabilitation therapy.

2. Description of the Related Art

In general, a walking training apparatus is used for rehabilitation of patients who cannot walk normally such as a patient who is paralyzed on the lower half of the body or a patient who has abnormality in a joint or a muscle. The walking training apparatus is generally configured to include a walking-assist robot which is worn on a joint such as a hip joint, a knee joint, or an ankle joint of the patient.

Most of the patients having walking handicap cannot support their own bodyweights. Therefore, a load pulling unit is installed in the walking training apparatus in order to pull the patient upward. In the related art, the load pulling unit is configured to include a harness which is connected to a body of the walking trainee and a driving motor which pulls the harness.

However, a pulling force pulling the walking trainee needs to be adjusted according to a degree of handicap of the walking trainee or a purpose of the rehabilitation therapy. In addition, in the case where the walking trainee is enervated during the rehabilitation therapy or misses his footing, an accident such as falling may occur. Therefore, the load pulling unit needs to achieve the above-described various purposes in addition to the pulling of the walking trainee by using the driving motor.

SUMMARY

The present invention is to provide a walking training apparatus where a load pulling unit pulls a walking trainee upward, and a counter-load is exerted on the walking trainee appropriately according to a degree of handicap of the walking trainee or a purpose of a rehabilitation therapy, so that it is possible to prevent an unexpected accident of falling during the waling training, and it is possible to effectively perform the rehabilitation therapy. According to an aspect of the present invention, there is provided a walking training apparatus including: a walking-assist robot which is worn on a lower half of a body of a walking trainee; a treadmill which has a tread plate moving at a predefined speed which the walking trainee walks on; a load pulling unit which holds a body of the walking trainee upward; and a controller which controls driving of the walking-assist robot, the treadmill, and the load pulling unit, wherein the load pulling unit includes: a harness which is worn on the body of the walking trainee; a main rope which is connected to the harness; a driving motor which operates to pull the main rope so as to pull the harness upward; and a counter-load weight plate unit which applies a counter-load to the walking trainee.

In the walking training apparatus according to the above aspect, the load pulling unit may further include a spin lock which is installed on the main rope to be engaged to clamp the main rope with respect to only one-directional tension of the main rope and an auxiliary rope having the one end which is fixed to the spin lock and the other end which is fixed the counter-load weight plate unit.

In addition, in the walking training apparatus according to the above aspect, the spin lock may include a ratchet gear which allows the spin lock to clamp the main rope only if tension is exerted on the harness side when the main rope is locked.

In addition, in the walking training apparatus according to the above aspect, the counter-load weight plate unit may include: a hollow load which the main rope penetrates; a plurality of unit weight plates which are stacked on an outer surface of the load; a fixing pin which is used to fix the unit weight plates to the load; and a fixing bracket which is fixed on a top surface of the uppermost unit weight plate, which the main rope penetrates a central portion thereof, and which the other end of the auxiliary rope is fixed to.

In addition, in the walking training apparatus according to the above aspect, the walking training apparatus may further include a rope drooping prevention unit which temporarily accommodates the main rope so as to present the main rope from drooping when the driving motor does not operate.

In addition, in the walking training apparatus according to the above aspect, the walking-assist robot may include a hip joint robot which is worn on a hip joint of the walking trainee, a knee joint robot which is worn on a knee joint of the walking trainee, and an ankle joint robot which is worn on an ankle of the walking trainee.

In addition, in the walking training apparatus according to the above aspect, the walking training apparatus may further include a robot load balance unit which is connected to the walking-assist robot to support the walking-assist robot upward and to adjust load balance of the walking-assist robot.

In addition, in the walking training apparatus according to the above aspect, the robot load balance unit may include a plurality of variable unit weight plates which exert a counter-load on the walking-assist robot.

According to a walking training apparatus of the present invention, a driving motor which forcibly pulls a walking trainee upward and a counter-load weight plate unit which exerts a counter-load on the walking trainee are added to a configuration of a load pulling unit, so that it is possible to present the walking trainee from falling or having an accident, and it is possible to perform training by appropriately adjust the counter-load according to a degree of handicap of a patient or a purpose of a rehabilitation therapy.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent by describing in detail exemplary embodiments thereof with reference to the attached drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a view illustrating a configuration of a walking training apparatus according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating a configuration of a load pulling unit according to the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a front view illustrating a counter-load weight plate unit according to the present invention.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are side views illustrating operating states of the load pulling unit.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view illustrating a robot load balance unit according to the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention can be embodied in various forms, and thus, the present invention will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which exemplary embodiments of the invention are illustrated. However, it should be noted that the present invention is not limited to the exemplary embodiments, but all modifications, equivalents, or substitutes within the sprit and scope of the present invention will be construed as being included in the present invention.

The present invention relates to a walking training apparatus where a configuration of a load pulling unit is improved. In the embodiments described later, a general configuration of the walking training apparatus will be described in brief, and the configuration and operations of the load pulling unit will be described in detail. For the better understanding of the walking training apparatus according to the present invention, Korean Patent No. 10-0976180, entitled, “Robot for Walking Training and Operating Method” filed by the applicant of the present invention may be referred to.

Hereinafter, the present invention will be described in detail by explaining exemplary embodiments of the invention with reference to the attached drawings. The same or similar components are denoted by the same reference numerals in the drawings, and the description thereof will be omitted.

FIG. 1 is a view illustrating a configuration of a walking training apparatus according to the present invention. Referring to FIG. 1, the walking training apparatus according to the present invention is configured to include a walking-assist robot 100, a treadmill 200, a load pulling unit 300, and a controller 400.

The walking-assist robot 100 is configured so as to be worn on a lower half of a body of a walking trainee who needs to undergo walking training. As an embodiment, the walking-assist robot 100 includes a hip joint robot 100a which is worn on a hip joint among lower-body joints of the walking trainee, a knee joint robot 100b which is worn on a knee joint, and an ankle joint robot 100c which is worn on an ankle. According to a degree of handicap of a patient, these joint robots may be selectively used.

Although not illustrated in detail in FIG. 1, the walking-assist robot 100 has a structure where a length of each segment between joints of the walking trainee can be adjusted.

The treadmill 200 has a tread plate moving at a predefined speed which allows the walking trainee to walk on so that the walking trainee continues to undergo the walling training while remaining in one place. As well-known in the related art, the treadmill 200 is a running machine or the like, and thus the detailed description will be omitted.

The load pulling unit 300 is configured to pull the entire body of the walking trainee with a predefined pulling amount. Referring to FIG. 1, the load pulling unit 300 is configured to include a harness 305 which is worn on an upper body of the walking trainee, a harness rope 310 which is connected to the harness 305, and a pulling block 320 which encloses components such as pulleys. A configuration of the following stage of the pulling block 320 will be described later with reference to FIG. 2 and following figures.

The controller 400 controls driving states of the walking-assist robot 100, the treadmill 200, and the load pulling unit 300 and generates and stores driving information. The controller 400 is configured to include an input unit 410, a main body 411 which includes control units such as an information storage unit and a control circuit, and a monitor unit 420 which outputs the control states on a screen.

The input unit 410 may include a key input unit such as a keyboard or an interface device supporting TUI (Touch User Interface). In addition, the input unit 410 may include a device which processes an input signal transmitted from another terminal connected via a network.

The information storage unit included in the main body 411 selectively sorts and store information or commands input through the input unit 410 or information generated during the driving of the walking-assist robot 100, the treadmill 200, and the load pulling unit 300. In addition, the control unit controls the driving of the walking-assist robot 100, the treadmill 200, and the load pulling unit 300 according to information input through the input unit or information stored in the information storage unit.

The monitor unit 420 outputs the information or commands input through the input unit 410, the control states of the walking-assist robot 100 and the like on the screen so that a manager such as a physical therapist can manage and supervise the walking training.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view illustrating a configuration of the load pulling unit according to the present invention. Referring to the figure, the load pulling unit 300 further includes a main rope 332, an auxiliary rope 334, a spin lock 336, a counter-load weight plate unit, a driving motor 354, and a rope drooping prevention unit 352 in addition to the harness 305, the harness rope 310, and the pulling block 320 of FIG. 1.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, the counter-load weight plate unit 330 is installed inside a weight plate casing 330, and the components such as the driving motor 354 are installed inside a motor accommodating casing 350. Casters 358 for movement are attached to the bottom portion of the motor accommodating casing 350.

The main rope 332 is a rope which is connected to the harness rope 310 to pull the harness 305 upward. In the embodiment, the one end of the main rope 332 is connected to the harness rope 310, and the other end there is connected to a rotation shaft of the driving motor 354 through the pulleys in the pulling block 320.

A reduction gear is disposed to the rotation shaft of the driving motor 354, and a winding roll 356 is connected to a shaft of the reduction gear. The main rope 332 is wound around the winding roll 356. If the main rope 332 is wound around the winding roll 356 due to the rotation driving of the driving motor 354, the walking trainee who wears the harness 305 is pulled upward. In the unloaded state where the driving motor 354 does not operate, the walking trainee can take his foot on the tread plate with his own bodyweight.

In order to prevent the drooping of the main rope 332 from influencing the other components, the rope drooping prevention unit 352 which temporarily accommodates the main rope 332 is installed inside the motor accommodating casing 350. For example, the rope drooping prevention unit 352 may be configured in a box shape to be adjacent to the winding roll 356 and to be separated upward from the tread plate.

The counter-load weight plate unit exerts the counter-load on the walking trainee counter-load so as to prevent the walking trainee from falling during the rehabilitation therapy, and the number of the unit weight plates 344 is appropriately selected according to a purpose of the rehabilitation therapy as illustrated in FIG. 2 so as to allow the walking trainee to take his foot on the tread plate with his own force.

FIG. 3 is a front view illustrating the the counter-load weight plate unit according to an embodiment of the present invention. Referring to this figure, the counter-load weight plate unit according to the embodiment will be described in detail.

The counter-load weight plate unit is configured to include a hollow load 346 which the main rope 332 penetrates, a plurality of unit weight plates 344a and 344b which are staked on an outer surface of the load 346, a fixing pin 345 for fixing the unit weight plates 344b to the load 346, and a fixing bracket 342 which is fixed on a top surface of the uppermost unit weight plate 344a.

As illustrated, the main rope 332 is insert into a elongated hole formed on the top surface of the the fixing bracket 342 and penetrates the rod 346 through the hollow thereof. Therefore, the counter-load weight plate unit does not influence the operations of the driving motor 354 winding or unwinding the main rope 332.

The uppermost unit weight plate 344a and the rod 346 are integrated, or the upper end of the load 346 is fixedly coupled with the bottom of the uppermost unit weight plate 344a. As illustrated, the rod 346 has protruding portions 348 which protrude outward from the outer surface thereof. As illustrated, concave portions are formed between the protruding portions 348. Insertion holes 344c are formed in a plurality of the lower unit weight plates 344b which are stacked.

As illustrated in FIG. 3, the end of the auxiliary rope 334 is fixed to the fixing bracket 342. Therefore, the fixing bracket 342, the uppermost unit weight plate 344a, and the rod 346 are lifted in cooperation with the auxiliary rope 334.

Herein, the fixing pin 345 is used to selectively couple the lower unit weight plates 344b with the rod 346. The fixing pin 345 is formed so as to be inserted into the insertion holes of the unit weight plates 344b. A U-shaped insertion portion 345a is formed in the front portion of the fixing pin 345 so as to be inserted between the upper and lower protruding portions 348 of the rod 346.

The manager can select desired counter-load by inserting the fixing pin 345 into the desired unit weight plate 344b. For example, if each of the unit weight plates 344a and 344b has a weight of 5 kg, the counter-load can be selected in units of 5 kg according to the insertion position of the the fixing pin 345.

FIGS. 4A and 4B are side views illustrating operating states of the load pulling unit. Referring to these figures, operations of the load pulling unit will be described.

In FIGS. 4A and 4B, first and second pulleys 320a and 320b are configured to be accommodated within the pulling block 320 of FIG. 1 so as to be in rotatably contact with the main rope 332.

As illustrated, the spin lock 336 is installed on the main rope 332 at the following stage of the second pulley 320b. The main rope 332 penetrates the spin lock 336, and the spin lock 336 is engaged to clamp the main rope 332 with respect to only one-directional tension of the main rope 332. For this operation, a ratchet gear 336a is included in the spin lock 336.

The one end of the auxiliary rope 334 is fixed to a fixing plate 336b on the rear surface of the spin lock 336, and the other end of the auxiliary rope 334 is fixed to the fixing bracket 342 of the counter-load weight plate unit.

Referring to FIG. 4A, when the walking trainee is pulled upward due to the driving of the driving motor 354, the main rope 332 is moved in the arrow direction. At this time, the spin lock 336 is in the “unlocked” state, where the main rope 332 is penetrating the spin lock 336. In other words, in this state, no tension is exerted on the auxiliary rope 334, and as described above with reference to FIG. 3, the counter-load weight plate unit does not influence the operation of pulling walking trainee upward.

Referring to FIG. 4B, when the walking trainee takes his foot on the tread plate or on the ground, the main rope 332 is moved in the arrow direction. At this time, the spin lock 336 is in the “locked” state, where the spin lock 336 is engaged for clamping the main rope 332 due to the ratchet gear 336a of the spin lock 336. Therefore, as illustrated, tension is exerted upward on the auxiliary rope 334, and the counter-load weight plate unit exerts a counter-load on the walking trainee.

In this manner, according to the operations of the load pulling unit, the pulling force of the driving motor 354 is controlled by the controller 400, so that the walking trainee can be pulled with the pulling force suitable for a bodyweight or a degree of handicap of a patient. Therefore, the load pulling unit assists the walking trainee so as to take his foot off the tread plate for walking.

In addition, when the walking trainee takes his foot on the tread plate, the counter-load weight plate unit exerts a counter-load on the walking trainee, so that the walking trainee can take his foot on the tread plate with a load obtained by subtracting the counter-load of the counter-load weight plate unit from the bodyweight of the walking trainee.

For example, in the case where the counter-load of the counter-load weight plate unit is set to be approximate to the entire bodyweight of the walking trainee, the walking trainee cannot take his foot on the tread plate with a very small force. As another example, in the case where the counter-load of the counter-load weight plate unit is set to be less than a half of the bodyweight of the walking trainee, the walking trainee needs to take his foot on the tread plate with a large force. In other words, with respect to patients who are getting better through the rehabilitation therapy or patients of which suffer slight wound in joints, the counter-load of the counter-load weight plate unit is set to have a low value during the rehabilitation therapy, so that it is possible to effectively perform the rehabilitation therapy.

On the other hand, the walking training apparatus according to the present invention may further include a robot load balance unit which holds the walking-assist robot 100 upward. FIG. 5 is a perspective view illustrating the robot load balance unit according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 5, the robot load balance unit is connected to the walking-assist robot 100 through a pulley unit (not shown) or a link mechanism. The robot load balance unit is used to exert a counter-load on the walking-assist robot 100. Similarly to the counter-load weight plate unit, the robot load balance unit includes a plurality of variable unit weight plates 376.

In the embodiment in FIG. 5, the robot load balance unit is configured to include a casing 370 which accommodates unit weight plates 376, a robot pulling rope 372 which pulls the walking-assist robot 100 upward, a link unit 374 which links the robot pulling rope 372 and the unit weight plates 376, a first spring 382 which elastically supports the counter-load of the unit weight plates 376, and a second spring 383 which compensates for an inertia force according to a change in a body height during the walking.

The robot load balance unit has a structure similar to that of the counter-load weight plate unit so that a fixing pin 378 is inserted into a desired unit weight plate 376 to select a counter-load suitable for the walking-assist robot 100. In the case where the total load of the the walking-assist robot 100 is changed, for example, in the case where the ankle joint robot 100c among the walking-assist robots 100 is selectively attached or detached or in the case where a walking-assist robot 100 for adult is removed and replaced with a walking-assist robot 100 for child, the manager can change the insertion position of the fixing pin 378 to select a counter-load suitable for the load of the current walking-assist robot 100.

The first spring 382 is used for moment compensation in order to prevent the unit weight plate 376 from falling abruptly. When the unit weight plate 376 is falling abruptly, the first spring 382 elastically supports the unit weight plate 376. In addition, a spring adjustment nut 384 is installed at the lower end of the first spring 382 to adjust a compression amount of the spring. The second spring 383 is used to compensate for an inertia force according to a change in body height during the walling of the walking trainee. When the unit weight plate 376 is moving upward, the second spring 383 elastically supports the unit weight plate 376. An intermediate supporting plate 385 is fixed to the uppermost unit weight plate 376 to be moved together with the unit weight plate 376 so as to support the elastic forces of the first and second springs 382 and 383.

The robot load balance unit is installed separately from the load pulling unit to exert a counter-load on only the walking-assist robot 100. In this manner, in the case where the robot load balance unit is installed separately, the load of the load pulling unit can be reduced, and during the walking training, the walking trainee does not feel the weight of the walking-assist robot 100. Therefore, more smooth walking training can be provided.

In addition, since the robot load balance unit is allowed to adjust the counter-load balance according to the weight of the walking-assist robot 100, the load pulling unit needs not to be separately adjusted according to a change in the weight of the walking-assist robot 100.

While the present invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to exemplary embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims. The exemplary embodiments should be considered in descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. Therefore, the scope of the invention is defined not by the detailed description of the invention but by the appended claims, and all differences within the scope will be construed as being included in the present invention.