Designing, constructing, and testing a second-generation prototype mechanical hippotherapy horse.




Benoit, Heather Denae.

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The use of horses as a means of therapy has been documented for some time. To determine why this type of therapy works and to provide a means of expanding its accessibility, a mechanical horse has been developed. Data collected on the movement of live horses during a previous study was used as a target motion in the development of a prototype mechanical horse. This mechanism was designed to be capable of reproducing that motion. For this prototype, the base remains stationary and a suspended saddle seat moves in a pattern replicating that of a live horse. The saddle is suspended by eight cables which are displaced by eight distinct cams. The cam set can be exchanged for various cam sets which correspond to different prescribed movements. Testing revealed good agreement between the motion of the prototype and the target, but improvements can be made in the measure of z-translation.



Mechanical horse., Hippotherapy., Biomedical engineering., Baylor mechanical horse., Horse machine., Hippotherapy motion-capture.