Hippotherapy, or equine-assisted therapy, relies on riding horses to improve the symptoms of patients with a variety of physical and psychological conditions. It’s becoming more and more popular for helping people with balance disorders, autism, arthritis, and other conditions seemingly because of the gentle motions that pass through the entire body. Perhaps these motions help to synchronize things somehow yet to be discovered, or there might be an entirely unexpected explanation. Regardless, the therapy is getting popular but the costs are prohibitive for many looking to receive regular treatment.
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A team of student engineers has developed a robotic horse that may serve as an option at providing hippotherapy without the associated costs, the smell of manure, or unexpected attitude from otherwise gentle animals. The robotic horse can support people up to 250 pounds and can be programmed to run through a regimen of movements designed for specific users and conditions.
Check out this video with the team of student engineers describing their robotized therapy horse: