Title: Research Trends in Rehabilitation Robotics
Speaker: Michelle J. Johnson, PhD
Asst. Prof., Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical College of Wisconsin
Research Asst. Prof., Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University
(414) 805 4256 (MCW office)
(414) 384 2000 x45878 or x47171 (Rehab Robotics Lab Office)
lab website: http://www.mcw.edu/roboticsrehab
Rehabilitation robotics can be divided into two main areas, assistive robotics including personal
care robots, and rehabilitation therapeutic systems. Trends show these areas of rehabilitation
robots branching into several directions. In rehabilitation robots for therapy, new trends are
seen in the provision of robots for stroke therapy that assist in training of the whole arm and
hand in both reaching and grasping and the use of robot therapy systems that are coupled with
methods for uncovering how motor learning is occurring and how cerebral plasticity such as
fMRI. In contrast, there is the trend to provide novel systems for home rehabilitation and
monitory that are low-cost and affordable. The use of wireless, wearable and portable
technology to provide home monitoring and the use of low-cost gaming technology or VR
systems to provide home therapy is frequently seen. In assistive and personal robotics for
rehabilitation, we uncover to provide more home personal and service robots that can provide
more natural assistance, i.e., functioning as personal rehabilitation robots that provide service,
are socially interactive, and more anthropomorphic approaching humanoid. Another clear trend
is the move to novel control interfaces such as brain computing interfaces for control of a wheel
chair robots and new control interfaces for control of new prostheses. This lecture will focus on
these trends and seek to uncover what they tell us about the future of the field.
Michelle J. Johnson, Ph.D., is Assistant professor of Physical medicine and rehabilitation at
the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Research assistant professor in Biomedical engineering
at Marquette University. She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mechanical
Engineering, with an emphasis in mechatronics, robotics, and design from Stanford University.
She completed a National Science Foundation-NATO post-doctoral fellowship at the Advanced
Robotics Technology and Systems Laboratory at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy.
Dr. Johnson specializes in the design, development, and therapeutic use of novel, affordable,
intelligent robotic assistants to help those with disabilities recover function or live
independently. Her current research focuses on using robotic tools to understanding upper
extremity dysfunction after stroke and the process of functional recovery of activities of daily
living. Dr. Johnson teaches and directs the Rehabilitation Robotic Research and Design
Laboratory located at the Clement J. Zablocki VA. The laboratory is jointly supported by
Rehabilitation Medicine at the Medical College and Rehabilitation Engineering at Marquette
University. It is also affiliated with the Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Engineering Center, a
joint program of Marquette University and the Medical College, and the Falk
NeuroRehabilitaton Center at Marquette University.
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