In what could be claimed as one of this year's major technological innovations, scientists have developed a "tiny treadmill" which will help infants with Down's Syndrome learn how to walk earlier than ever before.
Down's Syndrome is a genetic disorder which delays intellectual and physical development in kids. These children learn how to walk at 24 to 28 months, later than the 12 months for those without the condition.
Now, a team led by Dale Ulrich of the University of Michigan has in the recent past designed the tiny treadmill for children with Down's Syndrome.
"The idea is to support this underlying pattern of coordination in their legs, this alternating stepping. Once locomotion occurs, it really advances cognitive development, social skill development and language, so the sooner you get them walking, they can explore their environment," he said.
According to them, the treadmill exercise, used about eight minutes a day, helps to reinforce the underlying pattern of coordination in the legs and this repetition helps build core muscles and support the drive to stand up.
After the babies take eight to 10 steps without help, they are outfitted with light reflecting markers. In fact, the information from the markers is recorded on cameras, revealing gait, speed and width of their steps.