“Rehabilitation With the Help of Robots” in Penn News

September 4th, 2014

Rehabilitation With the Help of Robots

By: Heather A. Davis

From automated assembly lines to personalized flying drones, robots are opening up new possibilities in the realms of both work and play.

Projects from the lab of Michelle Johnson, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation in the Perelman School of Medicine, demonstrate that robots are playing an increasingly important role in healthcare, too, helping people regain motor skills lost to injury.

For patients who have cerebral palsy, or who have suffered a stroke or spinal cord injury, even the most everyday tasks can challenge the limits of their bodies.

Johnson, director of the Rehabilitation Robotics Lab, says her research goal is to gain “across these different injury types, an understanding of how people move.”

To that end, Johnson and her team of undergraduate and graduate researchers use and improve upon existing technology, focusing their attention on three areas: understanding how robot-assisted interventions can help patients, quantifying upper limb mobility during real-world tasks, and maintaining effective therapeutic techniques during remote, robot-assisted interventions.

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