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Techniques for Active User Engagement in Robotic Rehabilitation

Event Type
Professor Elizabeth Hsiao-Wecksler
190 Engineering Sciences Building
Dec 10, 2013   3:00 - 4:00 pm  
Professor Marcia O''Malley, Rice University
Debbie Richardson
Originating Calendar
MechSE Seminars


The Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab at Rice University has been developing robotic devices, objective assessments, and control architectures for upper extremity rehabilitation robots employed after stroke and incomplete spinal cord injury. In this talk, a range of techniques for ensuring active engagement of the participant in therapeutic interventions with robotic devices will be discussed.  Objective measures of motor impairment can provide frequent feedback to the participant regarding their performance during therapy. Control architectures can require initiation or sustained input from the user in order to generate desired movements.  Further, controllers can be designed to adapt to the user’s changing capabilities, which may be dependent on position or direction of movement. Results from a variety of ongoing clinical evaluations will be discussed in relation to these topics.  These research efforts embody the collaborative, interdisciplinary nature of my group’s research in biorobotics, haptics, neural engineering, and robotic rehabilitation.

About the Speaker

Marcia O’Malley is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department at Rice University, serves as the Director of Rehabilitation Engineering at TIRR-Memorial Hermann, and is a co-founder of Houston Medical Robotics, Inc.  She holds a joint appointment in Computer Science at Rice, and is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Departments of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at both Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.  At Rice, her research interests focus on the issues that arise when humans physically interact with robotic systems.  One thrust of her lab is the design of haptic feedback and shared control between robotic devices and their human users for training and rehabilitation in virtual environments.  Psychophysical studies provide insight into the effect of haptic cues on human motor adaptation, skill acquisition, and the restoration of motor coordination.  She has also explored the use of haptic devices for teaching the fundamentals of dynamic systems and control in the mechanical engineering curriculum.  In 2008, she received the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University.  O’Malley is a 2004 Office of Naval Research Young Investigator and the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award in 2005. Additionally, she served as chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics.  She is a former Associate Editor for both the IEEE Transactions on Haptics and the ASME/IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics.

*Times, dates and titles are subject to change. Check for updated information. These seminars count toward the requirements for ME 590 and TAM 500.                

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