/ 4 October 2021

THE DEPARTMENT of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development supported the biomedical devices engineering projects being implemented by the De La Salle University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Health Technologies.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said these initiatives include LAPARA Project or the Robotic Articulating Laparoscopic Instrument PHASE 2-Safety Tests and Preclinical Studies; TAYÔ Project or the Robotic Rehabilitation for the Trunk and Lower Extremity: PHASE 2-Safety Testing and Formulation of Clinical Trial Protocol; and AGAPAY or A Robotic Exoskeleton for Upper Limb Rehabilitation.

The LAPARA Project develops a robotic, articulating laparoscopic instrument that aims to improve maneuverability and ease of use for surgeons that will lead to faster healing and minimal scarring for patients.

The project aims to be a pioneer in the development of cost-effective robotic surgical systems in the Philippines.

The TAYÔ Project, meanwhile, is a multifunctional rehabilitation device designed to rehabilitate stroke patients, helping them to gain strength, become more mobile, and be able to sit and stand.

The device also aims to complement and assist therapists or physiatrists in doing physical therapy. It follows Filipino adult measurements that assist in ankle rehabilitation and has surface electromyography for biofeedback.

Meanwhile, the AGAPAY Project aims to develop a wearable robotic exoskeleton that will provide motor rehabilitation and physical therapy to post-stroke and injured patients.

“This robotic exoskeleton is envisioned to aid the patient’s upper limbs to perform his/her range of motion eventually regaining motor control. Unlike other upper-limb rehabilitation devices, AGAPAY will have 7-degree-of-freedom, which will provide better control and movement precision,” De La Peña explained.

“In addition, the devices will have an active biofeedback control system and guided user-interface to promote rehabilitation of brain-muscle control. The proponents have already developed a prototype that has undergone preclinical safety tests and certifications,” he said.

De La Peña said the DLSU-IBEHT has been recognized as a Niche Center in the region, specifically the R&D Center for Medical Robotics.

The IBEHT-NICER will be a Center on Robotics for Movement Rehabilitation or Biomechanics, Robotics for Surgery, and NeuroRobotics, the DOST chief added.