Design and Implementation of Robotic Devices for Rehabilitation

Stroke, experienced by over 500,000 patients in the U.S. each year, is the leading cause of long-term disability in adults. The most effective post-stroke treatment for impaired patients is physical rehabilitation. Even though rehabilitation robots promise a great value by reducing the work load of physical therapists and providing assist modes that are not feasible otherwise, there does not exist a consensus on how to actually implement robotic assistance. This project proposes to team up with a group of physicians and occupational therapists, and to design and build several robotic devices to provide patients with tools to improve their quality of life. Moreover, the project includes human subject experiments on stroke patients to test efficacy of different robotic assist modes during rehabilitation. Results of this research have strong implications to design of robot assisted rehabilitation schemes and will benefit numerous stroke survivors.