A Healthier Wisconsin

ADL-Specific Robot Therapy Environment for Upper Extremity Rehabilitation

Building the capacity for future research in the area of rehabilitation robotics at the Medical College of Wisconsin

Full Project Name:ADL-Specific Robot Therapy Environment for Upper Extremity RehabilitationPrincipal Investigator:Michelle Johnson, PhD, Physical Medicine and RehabilitationCo-Investigator:Gerald Harris, PhD, Orthopeadic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering; Roger Smith, PhD, OT, Occupational Therapy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; John McGuire, MD, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Kevin White, MD, Physical Medicine and RehabilitatioAward Amount:$138,880
Award Date
Project Duration:36 months

Project Description Narrative:

The potential of robotic technology to change lives and positively contribute to advancing scientific knowledge in the medical field is being proven in medical centers across the nation and the world. The application of robots in the rehabilitation of the upper extremity as therapy assistants is a relatively new application and research area in biomedical engineering, but one in which the potential impact on daily lives of impaired persons is great. Current research studies with robot-assisted therapy environments have indicated that these environments are able to achieve significant reduction in motor impairment and provide objective functional assessment and intensive training in a semi-autonomous environment. However, they still show less than adequate results in their ability to reduce functional disability. More basic and clinical research is needed to develop systems that can not only reduce motor impairment but also improve bilateral functioning in daily environments.

Through this award, the Medical College of Wisconsin will build the capacity for future research in the area of rehabilitation robotics by establishing a more versatile robotic training environment that uses repetitive, task-specific training strategies that can be used in upper extremity rehabilitation to improve functioning in the activities of daily living (ADLs).

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Developed a novel robotic-based intervention strategy to improve upper extremity rehabilitation and impact carryover of function after rehabilitation training to daily living environments

  • Implemented new protocol in the human motion analysis laboratory

  • Initiated study, testing 20 stroke survivors and 20 neurologically normal subjects in the motion analysis lab without the robot, using test results to develop the robot system to facilitate training of stroke survivors on activities performed in the daily living environment

  • Began development of a prototype robot to safely move an impaired arm along a custom trajectory associated with drinking a cup of water

  • Disseminated lessons learned and outcomes through numerous publications, presentations, posters, and abstracts

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