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Robotic Neck Brace May Help Doctors Analyze Neck Mobility in Cancer Patients

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A study participant wears the brace during experimentation.

In the new study, the researchers found the brace could precisely detect changes in patient neck movements during routine clinical visits.

Credit: Biing-Chwen Chang et al

Engineers at Columbia Engineering and Columbia University's Department of Otolaryngology have designed a robotic neck brace that could help doctors evaluate the impact of cancer treatments on neck mobility, and guide patients' recovery.

Columbia Engineering's Sunil K. Agrawal and colleagues upgraded an earlier robotic neck brace developed for analyzing head and neck movements in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The novel wearable brace was assembled from three-dimensionally-printed materials and inexpensive sensors.

Columbia University's Scott Troob said, "Use of the sensing neck brace allows a surgeon to screen patients postoperatively for movement difficulty, quantify their degree of impairment, and select patients for physical therapy and rehabilitation."

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