Therapy Robotics

The grand challenge in Therapy Robotics is to design the user experience so that the rehabilitation exercise becomes compelling, effective and sustainable. The CARIS Lab is working on several fronts in the areas of upper and lower limb rehabilitation for persons who are hemiparetic, for example as a result of cerebral palsy or a stroke. In one project (FEATHERS), we are combining social media, on-line games and orthoses with actuators to provide a motivating experience for young and older persons with hemiplegia. In another, we are exploring the use of physiological signal sensing to modify the difficulty of a physically challenging motor learning task in real-time, keeping the user engaged but not frustrated. In a third project, we are using an in-lab designed assistive Sit-to-stand testbed to study feedback methods for retraining standing in adults with lower limb weakness and/or hemiplegia.


FEATHERS: Functional Engagement in Assisted Therapy Through Exercise Robotics

We have created the Robotics for Rehabilitation, Exercise and Assessment in Collaborative Healthcare (RREACH) Lab to focus specifically on biomedical engineering projects involving upper limb therapy for persons with neurological impairment. The lab has robotics and motion capture devices to investigate different ways of designing exercise regimens to create more engaging, context-relevant, and effective experiences for persons undergoing therapy. The RREACH Lab currently is home to the FEATHERS Project.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Mike Van der Loos, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC

Researchers

Tina Hung
Bulmaro Valdes Benavides
Keith Lohse, Postdoctoral Fellow, Motor Skills Laboratory, UBC
Melanie Lam, Department of Kinesiology, UBC
Katharine Cheung, M.Sc. Candidate, Brain Behaviour Lab, UBC
Sandy Tatla
Courtney Hilderman, Perception-action Lab, UBC

Collaborators

Dr. Lara Boyd, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, UBC
Dr. Nicola Hodges, Associate Professor, School of Kinesiology, UBC
Dr. Naznin Virji-Babul, Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, UBC
Dr. Elizabeth Croft, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC
Alison Hoens, Physical Therapy Knowledge Broker, Department of Physical Therapy, UBC
Mimi Law, Bachelor of Design Candidate, Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Justin Hay, Bachelor of Design Candidate, Emily Carr University of Art + Design


Physiological Signal Sensing

Researcher

Navid Shirzad

Collaborators

Dr. Mike Van der Loos, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC
Dr. Elizabeth Croft, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC


Weight Distribution Asymmetry and Perception in Sit-to-Stand

When performing bilateral tasks that require load bearing or force production, post-stroke hemiparetics often rely more on their non-paretic (stronger) side, despite their perception that their weight distribution is even or that they have matched forces equally. This discrepancy implies that force perception and body proprioception may need to be addressed more directly as part of stroke rehabilitation programs.

We are focusing on the motion of rising from a chair, known as “sit-to-stand” (STS), to investigate hemiparetic weight distribution asymmetry and perception in the context of a functional movement. We have developed a closed-loop, load sharing assistive device that supports a specific portion of the user’s body weight while performing the STS motion. We are first interested in characterizing subjects’ weight distribution asymmetry and perception as a function of assistance from the device to see 1) if asymmetry is affected by how much body weight the subject is bearing, and 2) if the (in)accuracy of the subject’s perception is affected by total weight bearing. In a following study, we will compare various feedback types and schedules to determine which are most effective for improving weight distribution asymmetry and which are best for improving weight distribution perception.

Researcher

Jenny Sullivan

Collaborators

Dr. Antony Hodgson, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC
Dr. Elizabeth Croft, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC
Dr. Mike Van der Loos, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC


Other Collaborators

Dr. Yoshiaki Ohkami, Professor, Graduate School of System Design Management, Keio University
Mike Kayo, PhD Candidate, Graduate School of System Design Management, Keio University

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Faculty of Applied Science
5000 - 2332 Main Mall,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
Tel: 604.822.6413
Email:
CARIS Lab
Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC,
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Tel: 604.822.3147
Fax: 604.822.2403
See contact page for addresses.

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC  | © Copyright The University of British Columbia