NIR funds innovative healthcare co-robotics projects


Health care is the best field to expand the web of technological advancements, which otherwise seems to be messing up with human routine. More than innovative, gold-plated smartwatches or jets, this suffering human kind need the best of modern technological advancements to help disabled, diseased people resume their physical and sensory control.

There are some people and organizations, which are keen to motivate researchers and innovators to contribute for the cause. One of them is the Interagency National Robotics Initiative (NIR). NIR supports and funds to researchers for development co-robots-robots that help people.

This year, too, NIR has funded many such health care application related projects, and the total funds amounts to approximately $2.3 million over next five years.

Grace Peng, Ph.D., program director of Rehabilitation Engineering at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) said:

“Technology is becoming more and more adaptable in all areas of our life, from GPS in cars to speech recognition technology on smart phones. With these awards, we hope to encourage robotics researchers to think of new ways to apply their technology in the realm of health care.”

Among these projects, some of the those which deserves a mention are a wearable exoskeletons to induce recovery of functions, a computer vision-based active learning co-robot wheelchair, and a music-based interactive robotic orchestration for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The wearable exoskeletons could play a major love in fast recovery of limb movement after a stroke. The idea is to provide 24 hours physical therapist at home.

The wheel chair, on the other hand, is expected to help delivering a solution for elderly and disabled patients who have limited hand functionality and mostly rely on wheelchairs for mobility. It’s like controlling the wheelchair with head-movements.

The children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) could get a robotic application in therapy if the music-based interactive robotic tool is developed. This tool would allow researchers to include greater range of stimuli including musical ones. Music has been reported to have yielded better results with such children.

Other participants in NRI were National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Via: Nibib