A team of engineers at the University of Rhode Island is revolutionizing stroke rehabilitation with their innovative robotic platform. Professors Reza Abiri and Yalda Shahriari, from the College of Engineering, are passionate about helping post-stroke patients regain their motor skills and independence. This new device incorporates an adaptive closed loop and user feedback to engage and motivate patients during their rehabilitation journey.
The key feature of the robotic platform is its ability to monitor both muscle and brain activity to trigger the execution of reach and grab movements in an adaptive manner. This means that even the simplest daily tasks, such as grasping a cup of coffee or handing a mug to a visitor, become important milestones in the recovery process. By tailoring the device to each user through user-generated feedback, the team aims to make significant strides in the rehabilitation of upper-extremity motor functions for post-stroke patients.
In addition, this user-centered robotic device has the potential to provide occupational therapy in the comfort of a patient’s own home. By integrating the device into their daily lives, patients can receive more frequent physical therapy sessions and improve their chances of a full recovery.
The team received a $460,000 award from the National Science Foundation’s Disability and Rehabilitation Engineering (DARE) program to support the development of their exoskeleton. This funding, along with support from the URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement, has been instrumental in the early stages of the project.
Although the focus is currently on post-stroke rehabilitation, the engineers believe that the technology has the potential to benefit patients with other neurological diseases. With ongoing collaboration with experts in physical therapy and stroke specialists, the team is continuously expanding the capabilities of the robotic platform.
Q: How does the robotic platform work?
A: The platform monitors muscle and brain activity to trigger adaptive reach and grab movements.
Q: Can the device be used at home?
A: Yes, the user-centered robotic device can provide occupational therapy in the patient’s own home.
Q: What funding has been received for the project?
A: The team received a $460,000 award from the National Science Foundation’s DARE program, with additional support from the URI Foundation & Alumni Engagement.