But now, Baylor University researchers have built a custom mechanical horse to help those with physical and mental impairments get the same benefit from hippotherapy without having to actually get on to a horse.
“Our vision is that the mechanical horse can provide better access and can act as a complementary tool to actual therapeutic horse riding,” said Dr. Brian Garner, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Baylor and a biomechanics expert. “If the patient is afraid of horses or it may not be safe for the patient to ride a horse, the mechanical horse can act as stepping stone to build the patient up to a level of stability so they can get on to a live horse.”
Garner said hippotherapy is unique and valuable as a therapeutic tool because it produces three-dimensional rhythmic, repetitive movements, which preliminary research has shown simulates the movements of the human pelvis while walking. The movements promote many physical benefits like increased circulation, development of balance and improved coordination among many others. Therapeutic riding can help children and adults with various impairments or delays in development, including those with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Down syndrome and autism.
Baylor’s prototype mechanical horse mimics a real horse by using a three-dimensional system. The stationary device with a moving saddle surface can move in virtually all directions in a cycling pattern, putting the body through a complex of movements just like real hippotherapy. To make sure the mechanical horse replicates as precisely as possible the movements of an actual horse, Baylor researchers took video-motion photography of several real horses walking and used that data to create the mechanical horses’ movement patterns.
Garner said the mechanical horse also can differ in speed – from a slow walking pace to a fast walking pace – and is the width of a normal horse. It can be used with or without a saddle and can simulate bare-back riding. The saddle also simulates real therapeutic riding saddles that have adjustable handle bars.
“There are some minor problems to fix, but overall the device looks promising,” Garner said.
Garner and his research team will now conduct additional research using the horse, studying the biomechanics of hippotherapy.
Matt Pene | Newswise Science News
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy