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
Nanotubes are beacons in cancer-imaging technique
23.05.2016 | Rice University
More light on cancer
20.05.2016 | Lomonosov Moscow State University
Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices
Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.
When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene
In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...
The trend-forward world of display technology relies on innovative materials and novel approaches to steadily advance the visual experience, for example through higher pixel densities, better contrast, larger formats or user-friendler design. Fraunhofer ISC’s newly developed materials for optics and electronics now broaden the application potential of next generation displays. Learn about lower cost-effective wet-chemical printing procedures and the new materials at the Fraunhofer ISC booth # 1021 in North Hall D during the SID International Symposium on Information Display held from 22 to 27 May 2016 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
Staphylococcus aureus usually is a formidable bacterial pathogen. Sometimes, however, weakened forms are found in the blood of patients. Researchers of the University of Würzburg have now identified one mutation responsible for that phenomenon.
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is frequently found on the human skin and in the nose where it usually behaves inconspicuously. However, once inside...
Using ultrashort laser pulses an international team at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich has managed to manipulate the positions of atoms in hydrocarbon molecules.
Light can conduct the play of atoms and molecules in the microcosm. Humans manage to interfere with this play. Researchers from the Laboratory of Attosecond...
20.05.2016 | Event News
19.05.2016 | Event News
17.05.2016 | Event News
23.05.2016 | Information Technology
23.05.2016 | Architecture and Construction
23.05.2016 | Earth Sciences