Muscat: Inspired by Iron man, Omani inventor Omar Al Jabri has crafted a robotic arm, which can help people with paralysed arms to move again.
Omar’s revolutionary technology recently bagged the fourth place at Kafa’at, an initiative of the Emirates Foundation in Dubai, which hosted around 2,000 teams, along with three local awards from Caledonian College of Engineering, the Higher College of Technology in Muscat and Al Roya Youth Initiative Awards.
The robotic arm consists of two pieces, a ‘master’ and a ‘slave,’ according to Al Jabri.
The ‘master’ artificial arm with a built-in motor must be attached to a healthy functioning arm, likewise, the ‘slave,’ which has sensors on, is placed on the disabled arm.
“When a person starts moving the healthy arms, the disabled one starts moving in parallel with the help of the sensor and a cable,” the 26-year-old inventor said, adding that he is planning to modify the arms’ connectivity to make them wireless.
The award-winning invention is set to go commercial by next year at an estimated price of OMR15,000 according to Al Jabri.
However, there is only one prototype so far and it can only fit a certain measure of arms.
Al Jabri said he has tested his machine on 15 patients suffering from semi-paralysis in one of their arms.
“The results were very positive, and some people actually started moving their paralysed arms after two months of therapy,” he said, adding that, based on his research, it is possible to recover 40 to 50 per cent of an arm’s function after one year of using the Robotic Therapeutic Arm.
“The overall purpose for this project is to design an exoskeleton arm and wrist that acts as training device for the arm and wrist movement treatment, based on the three degrees of freedom, which is flexion and extension. Above all, this device must ensure the safety of the device for a stroke patient,” Al Jabri added.
He explained that this project is aimed at helping therapists perform rehabilitation treatment.
“I made this robot after observing an increase in the number of stroke patients and lack therapist. Besides that, there is no available equipment that is affordable in the market for the therapist process treatment,” Al Jabri stated.
There are 15 million people worldwide, who suffer a stroke each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which is caused by the interruption of the blood supply to the brain, usually because a blood vessel bursts or is blocked by a clot. This cuts off the supply of oxygen and nutrients, causing damage to the brain tissue.
According to the WHO, a stroke is the second leading cause of death for people aged above 60 years, and the fifth leading cause for death among people aged 15 to 59 years.
“Recovering the arm of a stroke patient is important as the hand is a major part in the body, which is used for daily activities, such as eating, bathing and changing clothes,” Al Jabri said.
“Therefore, a scheduled therapy programme will speed up the recovery process, along with a therapy session, which must be held with proper guidance.”