|Publication number||WO2011056152 A1|
|Publication date||12 May 2011|
|Filing date||2 Nov 2010|
|Priority date||6 Nov 2009|
|Publication number||PCT/2010/62, PCT/SI/10/000062, PCT/SI/10/00062, PCT/SI/2010/000062, PCT/SI/2010/00062, PCT/SI10/000062, PCT/SI10/00062, PCT/SI10000062, PCT/SI1000062, PCT/SI2010/000062, PCT/SI2010/00062, PCT/SI2010000062, PCT/SI201000062, WO 2011/056152 A1, WO 2011056152 A1, WO 2011056152A1, WO-A1-2011056152, WO2011/056152A1, WO2011056152 A1, WO2011056152A1|
|Inventors||Marko Munih, Matjaz Mihelj, Maja Milavec|
|Applicant||Univerza V Ljubljani|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (6), Referenced by (1), Classifications (22), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: Patentscope, Espacenet|
DEVICE FOR EXERCISING THE MUSCULOSKELETAL AND NERVOUS SYSTEM Subject of Invention
 The subject of the invention is a device for exercising the musculoskeletal system of humans, including sportsmen, while recovering from injuries, wherein the device automatically monitors the status of a person during exercise and changes the level of task difficulty. The device also immediately interacts with a person in a form that the person senses with at least one of his senses, preferably in audio, visual and/or touch form, based on the success or failure of each phase of exercise, wherein the exercising process comprises the psychological component of a person both on emotional and intellectual levels.
 The technical problem solved by the present invention is how to design such device that would give a person a possibility of exercising the musculoskeletal and the related nervous system by use of a mechanical robot arm and/or an exoskeleton, wherein the device creates updated parameter values of all exercise phases based on the success of each phase performed. The device considers also the emotional-intellectual part of the exercising person as a component of motivation with the purpose of attaining a better exercise efficiency.
 Based on the type of body tissue to be exercised there is a variety of known devices for persons recovering from an injury as well as for persons who exercise in order to improve their physical shape (amateur and professional sportsmen). Various skeleton and muscle tissues as well as tissues of the indirectly belonging nervous system are in question here. These devices comprise parts, mostly mechanical, that a person must move in straight lines or in curves or in a space with various forces. Indirectly dependent psychophysiological parameters of a body, e.g. heart rate, blood pressure, volume of inspired air etc. can be simultaneously measured. If a person exercises without a supervision of an expert person, it may happen that exercise becomes exaggerated or quite the opposite, to be much too easy. Exaggeration can be harmful to tissues, whereas a too easy exercise lowers the efficiency of the exercise, so there are optimal exercise parameters, which functionally lead to maximum goals of the exercise. These goals guarantee best comfort during exercising and at the end of the exercise the achieved level presents best satisfaction to an individual. Often, a constant presence of an expert (trainer, physiotherapist) monitoring and correcting an exercising person is therefore a must. Measurement and recording of values of different quantities providing information about the physical condition of a person during exercise allow for a professional comparison of said quantities during different exercises. An expert can thus observe an exercise and assess the level of success after the completion of an exercise and thereafter adapt the next exercise accordingly. A similar situation is encountered in the exercise of sportsmen, of amateur sportsmen and even more distinctively of professional sportsmen. A trainer constantly monitors whether an exercise was performed properly and simultaneously also monitors the mental status of the exercising person. A trainer then provides instructions about the next phase of exercise for the musculoskeletal and nervous system and simultaneously an instruction that increases the participation of the person on the emotional- intellectual level.
 All known devices normally only offer exercise and a partial supervision thereof in the area of the physical body. They do normally not process the mental state of a person. Mental state of a person changes due to many external and internal factors and affects the exercise. In known devices there is no direct and unambiguous link between the status of a tissue to be exercised and the current mental state of a person.  Examples of such devices are disclosed in US 5,466,213 (Hogan, Krebs, Sharon, Charnnarong), US 5,429,140 (Burdea, Langrana), US 2007/0060445 (Reinkensmeyer, Sanchez, Shah, Smith).
 So there is a need for a new device of this type, which will unambiguously deduct and decide on the type of each next exercise phase based on the current measurement of various quantities that undergo changes during exercise under the consideration of various earlier values of these quantities. While adapting the exercise phases, the device will also create and communicate adequate information in the form that is naturally perceivable by a person, the information referring to the performance of each exercise, the current psychological state, in the form that at least one sense of the exercising person can sense. The person should all the time consider this information when carrying out each exercise phase, which will result in no need for the presence of a professional trainer.
Solution to the Technical Problem
 The described technical problem is solved by the device of the invention, which is characterized in that a part of the musculoskeletal and nervous system to be exercised, e.g. arms, legs or parts thereof, is restrained into a restraining element or a person holds a holder that is a component part of a multidimensional movable mechanical arm and/or exoskeleton and/or other mechanism intended for the purpose, which is similar to a mechanical arm, but is adapted to cause movement or application of forces and/or torques to a part of the body to be exercised, wherein each arm segment, which allows for a partial movement, is monitored and controlled via actuators with a processing unit on the basis of values of various quantities continuously measured by sensors in the movable arm itself and in the body of the exercising person. Simultaneously, the mental component of the exercising person is also included in the exercise in that the person is connected via at least one of his senses with the virtual world. The person preferably watches an image of an virtual environment or virtual objects arranged therein, which directly dictate the exercise, wherein these objects are virtually moved by the exercising person himself with his muscular force or via actuators of the mechanical arm controlled by the exercising person by moving part of the body to be exercised via multidimensional movable mechanical arm. For a clearer presentation of the task of the exercise the mechanical arm can be shown on the picture and can move therein by the actual movement of the mechanical arm. The functioning of the mechanical arm can also be connected with any object or its activity, depending on the type of the exercise. Virtual environment and objects therein also have physical properties or actions from the real world, e.g. weight, elasticity, roughness, sleaziness, colour, brightness, illumination, acoustic properties, temperature, smell etc., which are sensed by the exercising person via at least one of the senses (for kinematics, statics, sight, hearing, smell, touch, temperature, etc.). The device gives information to the person via mechanical arm, 2D or 3D display, audio means for transmitting sound, or other means for transmitting the mentioned physical properties or actions of the objects. The exercising person not only moves the mechanical arm and herewith the virtual arm in the virtual environment, but actually grasps the virtual objects with gripping means of the virtual arm controlled by the exercising person, e.g. by pressing the holder on the true mechanical arm. As already mentioned, a person can act directly on at least one selected virtual object via multidimensional movable mechanical arm and/or exoskeleton and/or another mechanism resembling in its purpose to the mechanical arm, but being adapted to cause movement or application of forces and/or torques to a body part to be exercised. The essential characteristic of the device of the invention lies in that various sensors on the mechanical arm (or the part resembling in its purpose to the mechanical arm, but being adapted to cause movement or application of forces and/or torques) measure and transmit values and the device uses the latter to assess the physical activity of a person. A further essential characteristic of the device of the invention lies in that various sensors (e.g. electrodes for measuring ECG, skin conductivity, skin temperature, breathing, sensors of quantities of kinematics and statics) arranged on an exercising person continuously measure his physiological states and use them to unambiguously establish a person's physical and physiological state. Based on this status the device selects out of its set a piece of information adequate in contents and/or shape, said information being transmitted and the exercising person senses it with at least one sense in order to react to it via emotional and/or intellectual and/or motoric level. Stimuli (tactile, visual, audible, etc.) transmitted in this way and the continuously measured physical and psychophysiological responses on an exercising person are used for immediate adaptation of the task, virtual environment, objects, physical properties, their mutual activities, where the device directly or indirectly provides instructions for the following phases of the exercise of the musculoskeletal and nervous system and simultaneously also controls the activity of the emotional-intellectual component of the exercising person in an optimal way.
 The device comprises elements intended to cause, change, stimulate and evaluate a physical activity. The device further comprises elements for the assessment of the mental and physiological activity as well as the elements intended to change and stimulate mental activity. It is the device that transmits instructions in order to have the exercising person highly motivated, so that he would exercise more efficiently and reach better results. The device should also overcome perceptual limitations and come closer to cognitive capabilities of an expert person as a physical person.
 The device of the invention provides for a unique, ongoing process of exercise intended for the musculoskeletal and nervous system on the physical level, whereas the emotional-intellectual level of the exercising person is also included, without the presence of an expert person, e.g. physiotherapist or trainer. Both levels, the physical and the mental, are mutually dependent; the primary purpose of the device in question is use of motivational elements from the mental level for an improved exercise on the physical level.
 The essence of the invention will now be explained by a description of an embodiment with reference to the enclosed drawing, representing in
Fig. 1 a schematic view of the device of the invention,
Fig. 2 an example of an image of a virtual space with objects and information in space.
 A device for exercising the musculoskeletal and nervous system of a person A after rehabilitation or for exercising of amateur and professional sportsmen comprises a multidirectional movable mechanical arm 1 preferably a three-dimensional movable arm, which can have actuators 3 and sensors 4 for various quantities included in their joints 2, the quantities being for instance position or orientation, speed or angular velocity, force or torque. Sensors 4 for various kinematic and static quantities, which directly or indirectly lead to physical quantities can also be arranged on the body of said exercising person A. At a free end 5 of the arm 1 there is arranged a holder 6 that the exercising person A holds with a part 7 of the body or said part 7 of the body of the person A intended for exercising, e.g. arm, leg or part of these, is retrained into the holder. The holder 6 may be specially adapted to the part 7 of the body, especially when injured persons are in question. A part of the body need not be only that marked as 7 in Fig. 1, it can be any body part that is exercised. Within or near the holder 6 there may be arranged at least one sensor 8 for quantities, which are important to describe the status of this part 7, e.g. for the grip strength of a finger that might be injured. Reasonably the same part is exoskeleton arranged on the part 7 of the body intended for exercise. The exoskeleton or another reasonably adequate component adapted to cause movement or application of forces and/or torques may be used instead of the mechanical arm 1 or in co-operation therewith. The mechanical arm 1 will be discussed in the continuation, wherein all indications will be reasonably valid also for other modes of activation. Fig. 1 therefore only shows a mechanical arm. The selection of the mechanical arm 1 is subject of rehabilitation or sport's branch.
 The device further comprises a set of sensors 61, 62, 63, 64, 65 for the measurement of physiological responses of a person. Sensors for measuring physiological responses of a person are known and are not subject of the present patent. Measurement of peripheral temperature can be performed by a temperature sensor 62 fastened to a finger of the person A. Heart rate can be measured with a heart rate sensor 63 with electrodes fastened to the chest of the person A. Measurement of breathing can be done through a temperature sensor 61, fastened under the nose of the person A and measuring differences in temperature of inhaled and exhaled air. A sensor 64 can be used for the measurement of skin conductivity and can be fastened to finger tips of two fingers of the same hand. It calculates impedance of the skin based on the electric current through the skin at known supply voltage. Further physiological sensors 65 can measure blood pressure, oxygen consumption while breathing and other physiological quantities needed for the implementation of the task. These are only examples of various sensors, which may be arranged differently and designed differently than stated herein. Various signals from said sensors are received by a belonging input subunit 21 with a set of quantities in a process unit 20.
 The device further comprises an assembly 10 for generating a virtual environment and virtual objects therein, wherein the person A can perceive said virtual environment via at least one sense. The assembly 10 preferably generates a virtual visual place 11 in the shape of an image (shows the virtual environment 11 in a visible way) in an optional projection. The place 11 has objects 12, 14a, 14b, 16 and others, among which there is a gripping part 13 of the virtual mechanical arm, wherein the person A moves said part 13 by means of the mechanical arm 1. The holder 6 on the actual mechanical arm 1 is replaced on part 13 with a gripping means, e.g. in the shape of clamps or the like, to fit the task in each exercise. Apart from the virtual visual place 11 with objects 12, 14a, 14b, 16 and others, an assembly 25 also generates information in forms perceivable by a sense 30 for hearing, a sense 71 for touch, a sense 72 for smell, a sense 73 for temperature, a sense 74 for electric stimulation, a sense 75 for mechanical stimulation with vibrations and the like (see physical properties of objects). Actuators creating modality sensed by the senses 71 to 75 are not presented in figure. Adequate generators 70 of these stimulants are used and wires or other objects are reasonably used to transmit stimulation to the body, e.g. electrodes in electric stimulation etc. The contents of information are physical, emotional and intellectual in nature. Preferred contents of all mentioned information will be described later. Means for transmitting this information are known, e.g. loudspeaker, and are not subject of the present invention.
 The device further comprises a processing unit 20 with input-output components 25, a memory and supply components etc., which are known units for its operation, a set 21 of values of quantities measured on the exercising person A during exercise, a set 22 of values of definition parameters of the exercise, which have been previously defined by an expert, a set 23 of messages previously prepared by an expert and received by the exercising person A with at least one of his senses, e.g. eyes, ears, etc., and a set 24 of values of quantities, elements and mutual relations assigned to virtual objects 12, 14a, 14b, 16 and others in the belonging virtual environment 11. Quantities in the set 24 are e.g. dimensions, weight of each object 12, 14a, 14b, 16 and others, its elasticity, place 16 brightness etc.  The device further comprises a set 26 of models, namely: a process model 27, a decision model 28 and a task model 29, which all receive data from sets 21 to 24, by means of which the processing unit 20 carries out conclusions and commands, which are received and carried out by the set 25 with its means as described above, so that the person A can perceive with at least one of his senses and react to them on the motoric (physical) and the cognitive (mental) levels.
 The process model 27 can have, but not necessarily, several inputs and outputs. Based on the values of physical and physiological signals from sensors 4 of kinematics and static and physiological sensors 61, 62, 63, 64, 65 arranged on the person the process model provides absolute or relative information on the physical and mental status of the exercising person. Process model may be recorded in the form of physical equations or other table and mathematical records performing the same transformation. It describes how a physiotherapist or a trainer would assess mental, physiological and motoric status and functioning of a person and how he would provide a concrete statement on the situation of a person or on the change in the situation with respect to earlier situations.
 Decision model 28 at the input receives absolute or relative information on the physical and mental status of the exercising person A and at the output provides adequate values of the apparent space and objects therein as well as of physical properties and actions, i.e. relations between virtual objects in the virtual environment 10 from real world. The decision model 28 may generally have several inputs and outputs, but not necessarily. The decision model 28 performs a function of decision and selection with respect to the belonging data of the process model 27, i.e. with respect to information on the current physical and/or psychophysiological progress of exercise and forms: - instructions for a motoric exercise, wherein these instructions are:
(i) direct: refer the person A to complete a motoric task,
(ii) indirect: via cognitive task, the solution of which is performed by the person A via motoric response, wherein correctness of solution is not a condition,
- motivational information (praises, reprimands ...).
 The model 29 of the task is preferably defined via set 24 of measured quantities and received input information of required values of the virtual environment and objects therein as well as physical properties or actions from real world. The model 29 of the task is the one defining the virtual environment 11 and objects 12, 14a, 14b, 16 and others with physical properties or actions from real world, e.g. weight, elasticity, roughness, sleaziness, colour, brightness, acoustic properties, temperature, smell, etc., that the exercising person perceives via at least one of his senses 4, 61 to 65 for kinematics, statics, sight, hearing, smell, touch, temperature, etc. The model 29 of the task reflects to the exercising person via mechanical arm 1, 2D or 3D display 10, audio means 30 for transmission of sound or other means for transmitting the mentioned physical properties 71 to 75 or actions of the model 29 of the task. The model of the task selects the form of presentation of information from the decision model 28 to the person A as:
- words in a visible or audible record,
- information given in such way (haptics, sight, hearing etc.) that the person A can perceive with any sense, - information provided by avatar in the form of speech, mimics, gesticulation or composed information also by use of previously mentioned forms.
 The device of the invention functions as follows: a part 7 of the exercising person A, e.g. arm, is restrained in the holder 6. The processing unit 20 with its above-mentioned assemblies of sets and models generates an exercise and presents it to the exercising person A in the virtual environment 11 with the belonging objects 12, 14a, 14b, 16 and others and information in the form perceived by the person A with at least one sense. The task is composed in a way that the person A must first solve it on a cognitive level (e.g. question 15) and consequently carry out on the motoric level by use of the mechanical arm 1 in the virtual environment 11, which presents the visual part of the model 29 of the task, in which the virtual gripping part 13 is used. Solution or response to the task is not limited only to the visible part 11 of the virtual model 29 of the task but can also include any other modality, e.g. hearing 30, touch 71, smell 72, temperature 73, electric stimulation 74, mechanical stimulation with vibrations 75 and other. In other words, the person A moves the part 13 by using his musculoskeletal and nervous system as good as he can in order to fit the solution on the cognitive level. The actuators 3 comply with the task and accordingly provide adequate physical resistance to the exercising person A in a way that the objects 12, 14a, 14b, 16 and others in the virtual environment are attributed those elements of the actual place and objects therein (both described above) that the person A can feel with his senses and then treat on the emotional and/or intellectual levels.
 As an example let us describe a sample exercise presented in Fig. 2. Figure 11 shows the virtual environment of the model of task 29 with objects 12, 14a, 14b, 16 and others therein, which belong to each task or exercise and the exercise needs to be carried out on the motoric level by means of part 13 when the person A manipulates the mechanical arm 1. The virtual object 12, which floats on the river 17, needs to be grasped with the gripping part 13, which represents the motoric task in the model 26 of the task. Having successfully grasped the virtual object 12 the person faces a cognitive task 15, which is solved in a motoric way by putting the object 12 to the proper location of the answer (e.g. boat) 14a or 14b. Actuators 3 in the hand 1 can offer the exercising person A physical senses in his hand (e.g. weight, roughness, etc.). Other means like for instance a loudspeaker 30 can add other properties from the virtual environment 11 and information that the person A perceives with other senses. The entire task is monitored by the processing unit 20 via quantities detected by sensors 4 and 61 to 65 and the processing unit 20 continuously adapts the exercise via the set 25 of models under the consideration of the data in sets 22 - 24 to both the motoric and emotional intellectual levels via purposefully generated information that the person A perceives with at least one sense.
 The device of the invention analysis the condition and functioning of the person based on the process model 27 and creates each time adequate information based on the decision model 28, which information is followed by formation of a task within the task model 29. All models use the corresponding sets 21 - 24 in order to form information received by the person A.
 It is understood that a man skilled in the art by knowing the above disclosure and its embodiment can design new embodiments without circumventing the characteristics of the invention, which are defined in the appended claims.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|International Classification||A61H1/00, A63B24/00, A63B71/06|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F3/04815, B25J9/16, G06F19/3481, G06F3/011, A61H1/02, A61H2201/5007, A61H2230/30, A61H2230/42, A61H2230/65, A61H2201/5069, A61H2201/5079, A61H2201/5061, A61H2230/50|
|European Classification||A63B71/06D2, A63B24/00G, A63B24/00R, A63B24/00H, A61H1/02, A63B21/00P|
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