View Chapter

Chapter 64 — Rehabilitation and Health Care Robotics

H.F. Machiel Van der Loos, David J. Reinkensmeyer and Eugenio Guglielmelli

The field of rehabilitation robotics considers robotic systems that 1) provide therapy for persons seeking to recover their physical, social, communication, or cognitive function, and/or that 2) assist persons who have a chronic disability to accomplish activities of daily living. This chapter will discuss these two main domains and provide descriptions of the major achievements of the field over its short history and chart out the challenges to come. Specifically, after providing background information on demographics (Sect. 64.1.2) and history (Sect. 64.1.3) of the field, Sect. 64.2 describes physical therapy and exercise training robots, and Sect. 64.3 describes robotic aids for people with disabilities. Section 64.4 then presents recent advances in smart prostheses and orthoses that are related to rehabilitation robotics. Finally, Sect. 64.5 provides an overview of recent work in diagnosis and monitoring for rehabilitation as well as other health-care issues. The reader is referred to Chap. 73 for cognitive rehabilitation robotics and to Chap. 65 for robotic smart home technologies, which are often considered assistive technologies for persons with disabilities. At the conclusion of the present chapter, the reader will be familiar with the history of rehabilitation robotics and its primary accomplishments, and will understand the challenges the field may face in the future as it seeks to improve health care and the well being of persons with disabilities.

The Arm Guide

Author  Lennie Kahn

Video ID : 494

The Arm Guide was an early rehabilitation therapy robot used to study the role of active assistance in robotic therapy after stroke, which was developed at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the University of California at Irvine. It was a singly-actuated, trombone-like device which could be oriented in different directions. It was used to sense patient's arm movement along a linear bearing and then assisted in completing movements with a motor attached to a timing belt along the bearing. It also measured off-axis forces generated against the linear bearing, using a 6-axis force-torque cell in order to quantify abnormal synergies.

The MIME rtehabilitation-therapy robot

Author  Peter Lum,Machiel Van der Loos, Chuck Burgar

Video ID : 495

The 6-DOF MIME robot assisting the left arm in unilateral and bimanual modes. In the unilateral mode, the robot provides end-point tunnel guidance toward the target. In bimanual mode, movement of the right arm is measured with a 6-DOF digitizer, and the robot assists the left arm in performing mirror-image movements.

MIT Manus robotic therapy robot and other robots from the MIT group

Author  Hermano Krebs

Video ID : 496

MIT Manus is one of the first and most-widely-tested, rehabilitation-therapy robots, and is now a commercial product sold by Interactive Motion Technologies. It is a two-joint robot arm that assists and measures planar reaching movements.

ARMin plus HandSOME robotic therapy system

Author  Peter Lum

Video ID : 497

The ARMin exoskeleton is combined with the HandSOME orthosis to enable practice of pick and place tasks with real objects. The ARMin is controlled by a joint-based guidance algorithm which enforces normal coordination between shoulder and elbow joints.

BONES and SUE exoskeletons for robotic therapy

Author  Julius Klein, Steve Spencer, James Allington, Marie-Helene Milot, Jim Bobrow, David Reinkensmeyer

Video ID : 498

BONES is a 5-DOF, pneumatic robot developed at the University of California at Irvine for naturalistic arm training after stroke. It incorporates an assistance-as-needed algorithm that adapts in real time to patient errors during game play by developing a computer model of the patient's weakness as a function of workspace location. The controller incorporates an anti-slacking term. SUE is a 2-DOF pneumatic robot for providing wrist assistance. The video shows a person with a stroke using the device to drive a simulated motor cycle through a simulated Death Valley.

The WREX exoskeleton

Author  Tariq Rahman

Video ID : 499

The WREX is a spring-driven-arm exoskeleton that can provide anti-gravity support. Here, a young girl Analise puts on her WREX vest and robotic arms for the first time. Analise was born with Arthrogryposis and has been unable to move her arms and hands. Analise spent the morning being fitted for her WREX and the afternoon getting used to wearing it. Engineer Tariq Rahman and research designer Whitney Sample are the developers of the WREX (Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton) at Alfred I. Dupon.t

Manus assistive robot

Author  Christopher Hamilton

Video ID : 500

The MIT-Manus assistive robot can be mounted on a wheelchair or a table to enable a user with paralysis to manipulate objects.

The ArmeoSpring Therapy Exoskeleton

Author  Hocoma, A.G.

Video ID : 502

The ArmeoSpring Therapy Exoskeleton is a widely-used arm- and-hand training exoskeleton manufactured by Hocoma which provides anti-gravity support and can sense trace-grasp force. It is based on the T-WREX device developed at the University of California at Irvine, which in turn was based in part of the WREX arm exoskeleton developed at the A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children.


Author  Hocoma, A.G.

Video ID : 503

The Lokomat was one of the first robotic gait-training devices and is now one of the most widely-used robotic therapy devices.

Gait Trainer GT 1

Author  Reha Stim

Video ID : 504

The Gait Trainer GT1 was one of the first robotic gait trainers and now is widely used in clinics.