Can a Pneumatic Pump System Help Stroke Survivors?

With Dr. Nick Housley 22nd Nov, 21


There are many types of robotic systems that assist stroke survivors with regaining control over their motor functions. One of those robotic systems is the pneumatic pump system which works as an impedance control mechanism where they can actually clamp someone’s movements in a given range of motion.

How Pneumatic Pump System Help A Stroke Survivor?

In human robotics interfaces, there are ways in which robotics, especially pneumatic pump systems, can operate as impedance control mechanisms where they can clamp someone’s movements in a given range of motion.

Moreover, the robotic system in a pneumatic pump system can operate in multiple ways to either amplify or accentuate movements in certain areas. It can also try to resist you in specific ways to prevent you from moving in places that you do not want you to move. Therefore, resistance can often have a bit of a counter-intuitive way to help patients in stroke rehab.

For instance, if you are trying to walk in a straight line, an easy way for you to do this is to push walls very close together; and then you can walk through those walls. That is what robotic systems in a pneumatic system can kind of do. Alternatively, if you are walking down a highway and want to turn left, these systems can give you some more leeway on the left-hand side for you to move into that range.

What Should Be The Assistance Value In A Pneumatic Pump System?

If you regain enough capacity to perform basic movements, you need to work on those activities that focus more on endurance and precision motor activities. Because even if the base range of active motion for both sides of your body is the same, still one side can be weaker.

In this case, you have to reduce the assistance value on the weaker side. It seems strange, but it is a counter-intuitive approach. If one side is weaker, then you will not need much assistance on that side. However, in some circumstances, you may need more assistance because of your range of motion. Like if you have a good range of motion, you may not need much assistance.

Furthermore, you can train with a pneumatic pump system such as Motus Nova in two ways. First, you can keep the assistance value the same across both arms and shift the range of motion, or you can keep the range of motion high and slowly bring down the assistance value on the weaker side. It totally depends on your preference.

How Much Time For Stroke Rehab Needed?

If it is possible, you should do it every day. It is contingent on how tired you get after practice. If there is a lot of fatigue, you may want to parse it out. You can start from 30 minutes on the left side and then 30 minutes on the right side and then escalate from there for a longer time.


Pneumatic pump systems help stroke patients in stroke rehab to regain control over their bodies. However, you can decide the assistance value on these robotic systems according to your range of motion. It is essential that you do stroke rehab every day for better results, but you can decide the time depending on your capacity.

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