08 Sep Rice University students' hippotherapy device could help patients recover movement, balance
Rice University students are working towards a longstanding goal of making the benefits of hippotherapy – equine-assisted therapy – available to those without access to a real horse.
The students’ robotic device adds levels of sophistication to the project started several years ago. Their steed, named Stewie, is more comfortable and they believe more controllable for riders with neurological or movement disorders or problems with balance who could gain physical and mental benefits.
Senior mechanical engineering majors Kelsi Wicker, Sebastian Jia, Matthew O’Gorman, James Phillips, Wesley Yee and Jijie Zhou took on the challenge as their capstone project, required of most Rice engineering students.