Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotics

This research focuses on the study of robotics and technology in the investigating human motor systems and the clinical rehabilitation of people with motion impairment, especially of arm function, such as after a stroke.

The work has several elements. The first focuses on the modelling of clinical mechanisms in motion generation and impairment from the engineering perspective.

Fundamental engineering topics, such as the computational model of human motor control and motor learning, are greatly leveraged. In this aspect of the project, the human motor systems behaviour in achieving task execution and skill learning is studied through the use of fundamental engineering models, especially control theory.

Practical aspects of the project also involve the evaluation of robotics systems coupled with engineering techniques for patient assessment.

The outcomes are applied to rehabilitation robotics in order to provide a rigorous analysis of the strategies used.

Other aspects of the research include the clinical application of ‘coaching devices’ in upper limb rehabilitation and the application of wearable sensors for objective measurement of movement outside the laboratory setting.

A randomized controlled trial of tele-rehabilitation for the impaired upper limb in stroke survivors in their home is currently underway.
Facilities

  • An Armeo Power (Hocoma, Switzerland) rehabilitation robot, currently located at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Park campus, to be used by (and to gather data from) patients in the clinic.
  • ‘Coaching’ devices (ReJoyce, AbleX and AbleM) in the Hand Hub at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Park campus.
  • The Joint Medicine/Engineering Movement Laboratory, with Vicon Motion Capture system, force plate and EMG sensors, located at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Royal Park campus.
  • A planar 2 DoF robotic manipulandum for Human Motor Control experiment on healthy subjects, located at the Melbourne School of Engineering, Parkville.

More information:

Program Leader

Associate Professor Denny Oetomo

Professor Mary Galea

Case studies

Armeo Case Study