Radhika Chemuturi

Research Area: Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotics

Room: E114

Ext: 4266

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Post-stroke Rehabilitation System providing individualised Adaptability and Assessment

Abstract

The use of robotic devices for providing physiotherapy is a relatively new field within the area of robotics in health care and emerged from the idea of using robots to assist people with disabilities. It is rapidly advancing based on the recent developments in robotics, haptic interfaces and virtual reality. The idea of using robots to assist a therapist with a rehabilitation exercise has led to the development of several rehabilitation robotic devices. Considering the robot as an advanced tool under the therapist's supervision, the key challenge in the area of rehabilitation robotics is how best the therapist's skills can be enhanced with robot technology.
The focus of this PhD is on robotic assistance in stroke rehabilitation. Stroke, medically known as CerebroVascular Accident (CVA), is a leading cause of disability in developing countries and may affect many activities of daily living. ‘Stroke’ can be defined as a rapidly developing loss of brain function(s) due to disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. Restoration of motor function is a key objective of stroke rehabilitation. Retention of motor learning is best accomplished with variable training schedules and, for optimal results, rehabilitation techniques need to be geared towards patients’ specific motor deficits. Robot-assisted therapy facilitates setting-up of individualised training exercises for patients where the patients can train with minimal help from the therapist and also has the scope of offering ‘Tele-rehabilitation’. Research groups are exploring various robotic techniques to offer tailored effective rehabilitation.

The work to be carried out in this research is based on the Gentle/S rehabilitation system. Gentle/S utilises haptic and virtual reality technologies to deliver challenging and meaningful therapies to upper limb impaired stroke subjects. The clinical trial results with Gentle/S system and other systematic reviews bring out the need for robotic therapy to be highly 'adaptable' according to the specific needs and performance of the patient. Research also highlights the opportunity for using robotic technology to quantitatively 'assess' the underlying recovery process. The current research is therefore aiming towards designing a better therapeutic human adaptive interface with an improved assessment capability for the existing Gentle/S system. Visual solutions combined with sense of touch can bring the user very close to reality, while making the exercise more fun. Hence ‘Haptics + Virtual Reality’ is gaining wide spread acceptance among user and research communities. The clinical results of Gentle/S also show positive treatment effect with haptic and visual feedbacks. Therefore, this research is also working towards creating more immersive as well as motivating virtual reality environments that suit the adaptive nature of the system.

Publications:

R. Chemuturi and F. Amirabdollahian. “A Study to understand Contribution of lead-lag to Adaptiveness of Rehabilitation System,” ICORR 2011. (Submitted, Jan 2011)

2012 © Adaptive Systems Research Group

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