Rehabilitation Robots and Assistive Devices: A Special Issue in Honor of Prof. Dr. Rory A. Cooper

A special issue of Actuators (ISSN 2076-0825). This special issue belongs to the section "Actuators for Robotics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2024 | Viewed by 8406

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Human Engineering Research Laboratories, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Interests: assistive technology; 3-D printed assistive devices; adaptive sports and recreation; accessible transportation; automated and robotic transfers; activities of daily living (ADL) technology; accessible laboratories; innovation

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Human Engineering Research Laboratories, Department of Veterans Affairs, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Interests: human engineering research; rehabilitation robotics; human–robotic interaction
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Industrial Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Interests: assistive robotics; multisensory feedback; smart assistive technology; multimodal control; wearable physiological sensing

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Health Sciences, Yonsei University, Wonju, Republic of Korea
Interests: telerehabilitation; rehabilitation robot; quality of life technologies for aging and disability; adaptive sports and exercise; assistive technologies for accessibility and ADL

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special issue of Actuators is dedicated to Dr. Rory Cooper for his outstanding innovations in wheeled assistive mobility and robotics, and his contributions in the field of assistive technology. His inventions have greatly benefitted the health, mobility and social inclusion of people with disabilities and older adults.

Dr. Cooper earned his bachelor and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 1985 and 1986, respectively. He later earned a Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering, with a focus on bioengineering, from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1989. In 1994, he founded the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), where he continues to enhance the mobility and function of people with disabilities through advanced engineering in clinical research and medical rehabilitation.

He is a FISA and Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Distinguished Professor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, and Professor of Bioengineering, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. He also serves as Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Research for STEM and Health Sciences Collaboration for the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Cooper has authored or co-authored over 400 peer-reviewed journal publications and has been awarded over 20 patents. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and IEEE, and can name the Samuel E. Heyman Service to America Medal among his many honors. He is a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Dr. Cooper’s research interests and scientific/technical expertise have evolved in recent years, and now include participatory action design and engineering, seating and mobility, accessible transportation, autonomous and electric vehicle accessibility accommodations, adaptive sports, and patient transfer robots, among others.

This Special Issue will have a broad focus on rehabilitation robots and other assistive devices that move or are actuated, and their ability to improve the functional daily activities of people with disabilities and older adults. The Actuators journal welcomes the submission of original research and review articles in these areas.

Dr. Jonathan Duvall
Dr. Jorge L. Candiotti
Dr. Brad Duerstock
Dr. Jongbae Kim
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Actuators is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • assistive technology 
  • wheelchairs 
  • rehabilitation engineering 
  • assistive robotics 
  • accessible transportation 
  • accessibility 
  • injury prevention 
  • activities of daily living 
  • seating and mobility 
  • usability

Published Papers (10 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Other

21 pages, 15605 KiB  
Article
Integration of Virtual Reality-Enhanced Motor Imagery and Brain-Computer Interface for a Lower-Limb Rehabilitation Exoskeleton Robot
by Chih-Jer Lin and Ting-Yi Sie
Actuators 2024, 13(7), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13070244 - 28 Jun 2024
Viewed by 418
Abstract
In this study, we integrated virtual reality (VR) goggles and a motor imagery (MI) brain-computer interface (BCI) algorithm with a lower-limb rehabilitation exoskeleton robot (LLRER) system. The MI-BCI system was integrated with the VR goggles to identify the intention classification system. The VR [...] Read more.
In this study, we integrated virtual reality (VR) goggles and a motor imagery (MI) brain-computer interface (BCI) algorithm with a lower-limb rehabilitation exoskeleton robot (LLRER) system. The MI-BCI system was integrated with the VR goggles to identify the intention classification system. The VR goggles enhanced the immersive experience of the subjects during data collection. The VR-enhanced electroencephalography (EEG) classification model of a seated subject was directly applied to the rehabilitation of the LLRER wearer. The experimental results showed that the VR goggles had a positive effect on the classification accuracy of MI-BCI. The best results were obtained with subjects in a seated position wearing VR, but the seated VR classification model cannot be directly applied to rehabilitation triggers in the LLRER. There were a number of confounding factors that needed to be overcome. This study proposes a cumulative distribution function (CDF) auto-leveling method that can apply the seated VR model to standing subjects wearing exoskeletons. The classification model of seated VR had an accuracy of 75.35% in the open-loop test of the LLRER, and the accuracy of correctly triggering the rehabilitation action in the closed-loop gait rehabilitation of LLRER was 74%. Preliminary findings regarding the development of a closed-loop gait rehabilitation system activated by MI-BCI were presented. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 1382 KiB  
Article
Current State, Needs, and Opportunities for Wearable Robots in Military Medical Rehabilitation and Force Protection
by Rory A. Cooper, George Smolinski, Jorge L. Candiotti, Shantanu Satpute, Garrett G. Grindle, Tawnee L. Sparling, Michelle J. Nordstrom, Xiaoning Yuan, Allison Symsack, Chang Dae Lee, Nicola Vitiello, Steven Knezevic, Thomas G. Sugar, Urs Schneider, Verena Kopp, Mirjam Holl, Ignacio Gaunaurd, Robert Gailey, Paolo Bonato, Ron Poropatich, David J. Adet, Francesco Clemente, James Abbas and Paul F. Pasquinaadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Actuators 2024, 13(7), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13070236 - 24 Jun 2024
Viewed by 562
Abstract
Despite advances in wearable robots across various fields, there is no consensus definition or design framework for the application of this technology in rehabilitation or musculoskeletal (MSK) injury prevention. This paper aims to define wearable robots and explore their applications and challenges for [...] Read more.
Despite advances in wearable robots across various fields, there is no consensus definition or design framework for the application of this technology in rehabilitation or musculoskeletal (MSK) injury prevention. This paper aims to define wearable robots and explore their applications and challenges for military rehabilitation and force protection for MSK injury prevention. We conducted a modified Delphi method, including a steering group and 14 panelists with 10+ years of expertise in wearable robots. Panelists presented current wearable robots currently in use or in development for rehabilitation or assistance use in the military workforce and healthcare. The steering group and panelists met to obtain a consensus on the wearable robot definition applicable for rehabilitation or primary injury prevention. Panelists unanimously agreed that wearable robots can be grouped into three main applications, as follows: (1) primary and secondary MSK injury prevention, (2) enhancement of military activities and tasks, and (3) rehabilitation and reintegration. Each application was presented within the context of its target population and state-of-the-art technology currently in use or under development. Capturing expert opinions, this study defines wearable robots for military rehabilitation and MSK injury prevention, identifies health outcomes and assessment tools, and outlines design requirements for future advancements. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 5502 KiB  
Article
Research on Intelligent Wheelchair Multimode Human–Computer Interaction and Assisted Driving Technology
by Jianwei Cui, Yucheng Shang, Siji Yu and Yuanbo Wang
Actuators 2024, 13(6), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13060230 - 20 Jun 2024
Viewed by 387
Abstract
The traditional wheelchair focuses on the “human-chair” motor function interaction to ensure the elderly and people with disabilities’ basic travel. For people with visual, hearing, physical disabilities, etc., the current wheelchairs show shortcomings in terms of accessibility and independent travel for this group. [...] Read more.
The traditional wheelchair focuses on the “human-chair” motor function interaction to ensure the elderly and people with disabilities’ basic travel. For people with visual, hearing, physical disabilities, etc., the current wheelchairs show shortcomings in terms of accessibility and independent travel for this group. Therefore, this paper develops an intelligent wheelchair with multimodal human–computer interaction and autonomous navigation technology. Firstly, it researches the multimodal human–computer interaction technology of occupant gesture recognition, speech recognition, and head posture recognition and proposes a wheelchair control method of three-dimensional head posture mapping the two-dimensional plane. After testing, the average accuracy of the gesture, head posture and voice control modes of the motorized wheelchair proposed in this study reaches more than 95 percent. Secondly, the LiDAR-based smart wheelchair indoor autonomous navigation technology is investigated to realize the autonomous navigation of the wheelchair by constructing an environment map, using A* and DWA algorithms for global and local path planning, and adaptive Monte Carlo simulation algorithms for real-time localization. Experiments show that the position error of the wheelchair is within 10 cm, and the heading angle error is less than 5° during the autonomous navigation. The multimode human–computer interaction and assisted driving technology proposed in this study can partially compensate and replace the functional deficiencies of the disabled population and improve the quality of life of the elderly and disabled population. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 6211 KiB  
Article
Active Power Assist with Equivalent Force on Connection for Lower Limb Exoskeleton Robots
by Jing Deng, Wenzheng Jiang, Haibo Gao, Mantian Li and Yapeng Shi
Actuators 2024, 13(6), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13060212 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 475
Abstract
Active power-assist lower limb exoskeleton robots aim to enhance wearer assistance while ensuring wearer comfort and simplifying the exoskeleton’s design and control. This study proposes an active assistance method known as Equivalent Force on Connection (EFOC). The EFOC method effectively addresses the limitations [...] Read more.
Active power-assist lower limb exoskeleton robots aim to enhance wearer assistance while ensuring wearer comfort and simplifying the exoskeleton’s design and control. This study proposes an active assistance method known as Equivalent Force on Connection (EFOC). The EFOC method effectively addresses the limitations encountered in conventional Joint Torque Proportional Compensation (JTPC) approaches. These limitations include the necessity for exoskeleton robot configurations to align with human limb structures for parallel assistance at each lower limb joint, as well as the exoskeleton’s inability to contribute a greater proportion of assistance due to the excessive load on specific skeletal and muscular structures, resulting in wearer discomfort. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the EFOC method is evaluated and validated for assistance during both the stance and swing phases of single-leg movements. Finally, the proposed EFOC method is implemented on a hydraulic-driven lower limb exoskeleton robot to assist wearers in squatting, stepping, and jumping locomotion. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed EFOC method can effectively achieve the desired assistance effect. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 7028 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Arm Movements on the Dynamics of the Wheelchair Frame during Manual Wheelchair Actuation and Propulsion
by Franz Konstantin Fuss, Adin Ming Tan and Yehuda Weizman
Actuators 2024, 13(5), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13050183 - 11 May 2024
Viewed by 759
Abstract
Wheelchair propulsion and actuation are influenced by the moving masses of the wheelchair user; however, the extent of this effect is still unclear. The main evidence of this effect is that the speed of the wheelchair frame continues to increase after the end [...] Read more.
Wheelchair propulsion and actuation are influenced by the moving masses of the wheelchair user; however, the extent of this effect is still unclear. The main evidence of this effect is that the speed of the wheelchair frame continues to increase after the end of the push phase. The wheelchair’s speed was measured using IMUs and the duration of the push period was recorded using miniaturised pressure sensors attached to the driver’s middle fingers. The velocity and acceleration were determined for various average stroke cycle speeds to determine the speed dependency of the acceleration. The wheelchair was then mounted on a force plate to measure the inertial forces of the hands moving back and forth. The aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance forces were determined from coast-down experiments. Based on the measured forces, the behaviour of the force and velocity profiles was finally modelled by gradually reducing the mass of the arms and thus their inertial force. The results showed that the wheelchair is accelerated throughout the push phase (except for a temporary deceleration in the middle of the push phase at higher velocities), and that this acceleration continues well after the push phase. In the second half of the recovery phase, the wheelchair decelerates. The horizontal inertial forces measured on the force plate are predominantly negative in the push phase and in the second half of the recovery phase, and positive in the first half of the push phase, and their impulse is zero due to the conservation of momentum. Modelling the wheelchair with moving masses showed that reducing the horizontal inertial forces has no effect on the driver’s propulsive force but reduces the velocity fluctuations. The main conclusion of this research is that the wheelchair user’s power should be calculated only from the pure propulsive force that is required in the push phase to overcome the dissipative forces and that enables the gain or loss in speed per stroke cycle, but not directly from the measured velocity. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 4986 KiB  
Article
Optimization Approach for Multisensory Feedback in Robot-Assisted Pouring Task
by Mandira S. Marambe, Bradley S. Duerstock and Juan P. Wachs
Actuators 2024, 13(4), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13040152 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 965
Abstract
Individuals with disabilities and persons operating in inaccessible environments can greatly benefit from the aid of robotic manipulators in performing daily living activities and other remote tasks. Users relying on robotic manipulators to interact with their environment are restricted by the lack of [...] Read more.
Individuals with disabilities and persons operating in inaccessible environments can greatly benefit from the aid of robotic manipulators in performing daily living activities and other remote tasks. Users relying on robotic manipulators to interact with their environment are restricted by the lack of sensory information available through traditional operator interfaces. These interfaces deprive users of somatosensory feedback that would typically be available through direct contact. Multimodal sensory feedback can bridge these perceptual gaps effectively. Given a set of object properties (e.g., temperature, weight) to be conveyed and sensory modalities (e.g., visual, haptic) available, it is necessary to determine which modality should be assigned to each property for an effective interface design. The goal of this study was to develop an effective multisensory interface for robot-assisted pouring tasks, which delivers nuanced sensory feedback while permitting the high visual demand necessary for precise teleoperation. To that end, an optimization approach was employed to generate a combination of feedback properties to modality assignments that maximizes effective feedback perception and minimizes cognitive load. A set of screening experiments tested twelve possible individual assignments to form this optimal combination. The resulting perceptual accuracy, load, and user preference measures were input into a cost function. Formulating and solving as a linear assignment problem, a minimum cost combination was generated. Results from experiments evaluating efficacy in practical use cases for pouring tasks indicate that the solution was significantly more effective than no feedback and had considerable advantage over an arbitrary design. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 1685 KiB  
Article
Novel Extension Control Instrument for Power Wheelchair Based on Kalman Filter Head Motion Detection
by Yixin Zhang, Zhuohang Ying, Xinyu Tian, Siyuan Jin, Junjie Huang and Yinan Miao
Actuators 2024, 13(4), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13040141 - 11 Apr 2024
Viewed by 867
Abstract
People with upper limb disabilities or high quadriplegia have extremely high requirements for the maneuverability and functionality of power wheelchairs. Normal wheelchairs cannot meet travel tasks, while smart customized wheelchairs are expensive and cannot be popularized. Therefore, a novel extension control instrument for [...] Read more.
People with upper limb disabilities or high quadriplegia have extremely high requirements for the maneuverability and functionality of power wheelchairs. Normal wheelchairs cannot meet travel tasks, while smart customized wheelchairs are expensive and cannot be popularized. Therefore, a novel extension control instrument for power wheelchairs with low cost, strong scalability, and convenient usage is proposed, which can realize the control of the wheelchair by sensing a change of head posture. The device is divided into a head motion sensing unit (HMSU) and a wheelchair assistance control unit (WACU). The mapping relationship between the head attitude and the subject’s motion intention is established. The inertial measurement module in the HMSU collects the head attitude data and uses the Kalman filtering method to obtain the accurate Euler angle. The WACU is fixed on the original controller of the wheelchair. The joystick is inserted into the extended control mechanism and controlled, instead of the hand, through a 2-degree-of-freedom servo system combined with the pinion and rack push rod structure, thus controlling the movement of the wheelchair. In proceeding, the system can also detect the distance of objects in the environment in real time through the three-direction (front, left, right) ultrasonic ranging sensors installed on the WACU, with a certain obstacle avoidance function. The prototype experiments prove that the extension control instrument developed in this paper based on the Kalman filter can quickly and accurately identify head motion and accurately control the movement of the wheelchair. It is easy to operate and has strong universality, which presents a new low-cost solution for the travel of patients with disabilities. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

17 pages, 5077 KiB  
Article
Exploring Control Authority Preferences in Robotic Arm Assistance for Power Wheelchair Users
by Breelyn Kane Styler, Wei Deng, Reid Simmons, Henny Admoni, Rory Cooper and Dan Ding
Actuators 2024, 13(3), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13030104 - 7 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1340
Abstract
This paper uses mixed methods to explore the preliminary design of control authority preferences for an Assistive Robotic Manipulator (ARM). To familiarize users with an intelligent robotic arm, we perform two kitchen task iterations: one with user-initiated software autonomy (predefined autonomous actions) and [...] Read more.
This paper uses mixed methods to explore the preliminary design of control authority preferences for an Assistive Robotic Manipulator (ARM). To familiarize users with an intelligent robotic arm, we perform two kitchen task iterations: one with user-initiated software autonomy (predefined autonomous actions) and one with manual control. Then, we introduce a third scenario, enabling users to choose between manual control and system delegation throughout the task. Results showed that, while manually switching modes and controlling the arm via joystick had a higher mental workload, participants still preferred full joystick control. Thematic analysis indicates manual control offered greater freedom and sense of accomplishment. Participants reacted positively to the idea of an interactive assistive system. Users did not want to ask the system to only assist, by taking over for certain actions, but also asked for situational feedback (e.g., ‘How close am I (the gripper)?’, ‘Is the lid centered over the jug?’). This speaks to a future assistive system that ensures the user feels like they drive the system for the entirety of the task and provides action collaboration in addition to more granular situational awareness feedback. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 4216 KiB  
Article
Proposal for a Human–Machine Collaborative Transfer System Considering Caregivers’ Lower Back Pain and Cognitive Factors in the Elderly during Transfer Movements
by Jiang Wu and Motoki Shino
Actuators 2024, 13(3), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13030096 - 28 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1412
Abstract
With the aging society in Japan, the number of elderly people residing in elderly facilities is increasing. In previous study, we developed a transfer assistive device designed to aid the elderly in transferring from the bedroom to the bathroom. Additionally, the device assists [...] Read more.
With the aging society in Japan, the number of elderly people residing in elderly facilities is increasing. In previous study, we developed a transfer assistive device designed to aid the elderly in transferring from the bedroom to the bathroom. Additionally, the device assists the elderly with standing and sitting to facilitate independent toileting activities. We verified that, throughout the entire transfer movement, the lumbar burden on caregivers remained below 3400 N. In this study, based on quantitative evaluation indices of transfer movements, the relationship between the lumbar burden on caregivers and factors such as psychological anxiety or cognitive impairment in the elderly during the use of a transfer assistive device was elucidated through motion analysis. We developed a control algorithm for the human–machine collaborative transfer system with the aim of alleviating the strain on the caregiver’s lower back while ensuring the elderly can use the device with peace of mind. The practicality of the control algorithm was verified. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Research

14 pages, 7352 KiB  
Technical Note
Calibration to Differentiate Power Output by the Manual Wheelchair User from the Pushrim-Activated Power-Assisted Wheel on a Force-Instrumented Computer-Controlled Wheelchair Ergometer
by Jelmer Braaksma, Enrico Ferlinghetti, Sonja de Groot, Matteo Lancini, Han Houdijk and Riemer J. K. Vegter
Actuators 2024, 13(7), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/act13070257 - 9 Jul 2024
Viewed by 223
Abstract
To examine the biomechanical demands of manual wheelchair propulsion, it is crucial to determine the wheelchair user’s (WCU) force for propulsion technique parameter calculation. When using a pushrim-activated power-assisted wheelchair (PAPAW) on a wheelchair ergometer, a combined propulsion force from the WCU and [...] Read more.
To examine the biomechanical demands of manual wheelchair propulsion, it is crucial to determine the wheelchair user’s (WCU) force for propulsion technique parameter calculation. When using a pushrim-activated power-assisted wheelchair (PAPAW) on a wheelchair ergometer, a combined propulsion force from the WCU and PAPAW is exerted. To understand PAPAW’s assistance and distinguish the WCU’s force application from the force exerted by the PAPAW, both propulsion components must be assessed separately. In this study, a calibration of the PAPAW on an ergometer was developed to achieve this separation. The calibration consists of five steps: (I) Collecting data on force and velocity measured from the ergometer, along with electrical current and velocity from the PAPAW. (II) Synchronizing the velocity signals of the wheelchair ergometer and PAPAW using cross-correlation. (III) Calibrating the PAPAW’s electromotors to convert electrical current (mA) to force (N). A product-specific motor constant of 0.30, provided an average ICC of 0.563, indicating a moderate agreement between the raw ergometer data (N) and the motor constant-converted drive-rim (PAPAW) data (from mA to N). (IV) Subtracting the PAPAW’s force signal from the ergometer’s measured force to isolate forces generated by the WCU. (V) Using markerless motion capture to determine and validate the phase of hand contact with the handrim. This technical note provides an example of PAPAW calibration for researchers and clinicians. It emphasizes the importance of integrating this calibration into the development of PAPAW devices to reveal the complex interaction between PAPAW and WCU during wheelchair propulsion. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop