Rehabilitation Robotics

Sensory Feedback for Smart Prosthetics

Though mechanical aspects of upper-limb prosthesis technology is rapidly advancing, these devices lack a sense of touch required for dexterous manipulation and exploring environments. We aim to address this concern by developing non-invasive technology to provide missing touch sensations in prosthetic limbs via sensory substitution with modular add-on devices separate from the prosthesis.
 

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Sensory Feedback for Smart Prosthetics

Researchers aim for 'direct brain control' of prosthetic arms

Engineers work to design prosthetic arm that allows amputees to feel what they touch

http://www.media.rice.edu/media/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=15983&SnID=1928...

Engineering researchers at four U.S. universities are embarking on a four-year project to design a prosthetic arm that amputees can control directly with their brains and that will allow them to feel what they touch. While it may sound like science fiction, the researchers say much of the technology has already been proven in small-scale demonstrations.

The research at Rice University, the University of Michigan, Drexel University and the University of Maryland is made possible by a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Human-Centered Computing program.

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Rehabilitation Robotics and Functional Electrical Stimulation

291,000 people are currently living with SCI, and 60% of them have cervical level injuries leading to tetraplegia. Restoration of arm and hand function is a top priority for this population, and while some incomplete SCI patients benefit from rehab, many require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). Two commonly used rehabilitation/assistance techniques are rehabilitation robotics, and functional electrical stimulation (FES), but neither have proven to be eff

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Stretchable Laser Induced Graphene Sensing for Soft Robotic Exoskeleton

The objective of this project to implement laser-induced graphene sensing in a robotic glove exoskeleton, aiming to optimize the high sensitivity properties of LIG/PDMS composites for a robotic application and further improve upon the usability and sensitivity of exisisting glove designs and serve as a test bed for cutting edge nanomaterials. Laser-induced graphene (LIG) can be synthesized by a one-step process through CO2­ laser treatment of commercial polyimide (PI) film in an ambient atmosphere, selectively converting PI to conductive graphene film.

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Open-Source Passive Instrumented Mannequins for Wearable Robots

Although soft robotic assistive gloves have high potential for restoring functional independence for individuals with motor impairment, their lack of rigid components makes it difficult to obtain accurate position sensing to validate their performance. To track soft device motion, standard practices rely on costly optical motion capture techniques, which have reduced accuracy due to limitations in marker occlusion and device deformation.

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Engineering and the Humanities

To investigate the 'human' side of human-robot interactions, the MAHI Lab is looking to collaborators beyond engineering disciplines to improve the work we do. With Dr. Marcia Brennan in the Department of Religion, we are making connections to the deeply personal nature of injury, impairment, and rehabilitation to better understand the participants in our studies. Working as a literary artist, Dr.

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Computational Neurorehabilitation

Robotic exoskeletons can be effective tools for providing repetitive and high dose rehabilitation therapy. However, currently there is a lack of techniques to design therapy systematically using the myriad of subject-specific experimental data that is available from these devices. We envision an objective and systematic approach that combines experimental data with computational simulations for designing robot-assisted rehabilitation therapies.

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Real-Time Myoelectric Control of an Elbow-Wrist Exoskeleton

Electromyographic (EMG) control interfaces have the potential to increase the effectiveness and accessibility of rehabilitation robotics to a larger population of impaired individuals, including those with no residual motion in their upper limb. Building on our previous work to characterize the surface EMG patterns of able-bodied and incomplete spinal cord injury (iSCI) subjects, we have developed a real-time controller for the MAHI EXO-II upper limb exoskeleton.

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