Special Issue "Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?"

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032). This special issue belongs to the section "Artificial Intelligence in Medicine".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 March 2022) | Viewed by 9136

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Special Issue Editor

Dr. Daniele Giansanti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Centro TISP, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161 Roma, Italy
2. The Italian National Institute of Health, 299 Rome, Italy
Interests: robotics; artificial intelligence; neural networks; mHealth; digital health; rehabilitation; eHealth; smart technology; cybersecurity; informatics; big data; mental health; animal-assisted therapy; telemedicine; social robotics; acceptance; imaging; safety
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Clinical studies on the use of robotic technologies in the rehabilitation field (RR), ranging from the field of disabling pathologies of neurological origin up to the field of injuries (included the ones into the work) and/or the the support of the elderlies have gained increasing attention. In the last years we have assisted to an increasing use of the robotic devices alone and/or in association with other rehabilitation technologies.

Despite the great development of robotics in the rehabilitation field, however we are assisting to approaches different from each other in the use and in the relevant models of care. As in other sectors, such as telemedicine, robotics is often used very limited to pilot and/or research projects. Just like in telemedicine, all aspects that can strengthen the use of robotics in routine clinical activities must be addressed in the international panorama with strong dedicated initiatives. There is a particular need for scholars to focus on both the innovations in this field and the problems hampering RR, in order to facilitate the correct and effective introduction of this technology into routine clinical programs in stable health care models. I invite you to contribute to this Special Issue, which has a broad scope. The following topics, though not exhaustive, will be considered: continuous innovations in the field, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic; the full introduction of robots in this setting; initial studies on robots with empathy; the problem of the introduction of this technology into an effective and complete care model. This Special Issue of Healthcare welcomes commentaries, original research, short reports, and reviews on the challenges faced by health systems in this field.

Dr. Daniele Giansanti
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • e-health
  • medical devices
  • m-health
  • rehabilitation
  • robotics
  • organization models
  • artificial-intelligence
  • electronic surveys

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
The Rehabilitation and the Robotics: Are They Going Together Well?
Healthcare 2021, 9(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9010026 - 30 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 652
Abstract
The following problems have always existed in rehabilitation [1]:Operational and functional reorganization from a cerebral point of view and motor recovery seem to require therapies that require an important use of the limb associated with an innovative type of learning and/or ability with [...] Read more.
The following problems have always existed in rehabilitation [1]:Operational and functional reorganization from a cerebral point of view and motor recovery seem to require therapies that require an important use of the limb associated with an innovative type of learning and/or ability with regard to new motor skills [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)

Research

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Article
The Effect of Early Applied Robot-Assisted Physiotherapy on Functional Independence Measure Score in Post-Myocardial Infarction Patients
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 937; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050937 - 18 May 2022
Viewed by 537
Abstract
Robot-assisted training has been widely used in rehabilitation programs, but no significant clinical evidence about its use in productive working-age cardiac patients was demonstrated. Thus, we hypothesized that early applied robot-assisted physiotherapy might provide additional treatment benefits in the rehabilitation of post-myocardial infarction [...] Read more.
Robot-assisted training has been widely used in rehabilitation programs, but no significant clinical evidence about its use in productive working-age cardiac patients was demonstrated. Thus, we hypothesized that early applied robot-assisted physiotherapy might provide additional treatment benefits in the rehabilitation of post-myocardial infarction (MI) patients. A total of 92 (50 men, 42 women) hospitalized post-MI patients with the age of 60.9 ± 2.32 participated in the research. An early intensive physiotherapy program (7×/week, 2×/day) was applied for each patient with an average time of 45 min per session. Patients were consecutively assigned to Experimental group (EG) and Control group (CG). Then, 20 min of robot-assisted training by Motomed letto 2 or Thera-Trainer tigo was included in all EG physiotherapy sessions. The Functional Independence Measures (FIM) score at the admission and after 14 days of rehabilitation was used for an assessment. When analyzing time * group effect by repeated-measures ANOVA, we reported that EG showed a higher effect in ADL (p = 0.00), and Motor indicators (p = 0.00). There was no statistically significant effect reported in the Social indicator (p = 0.35). Early rehabilitation programs for post-MI patients might be enhanced by robotic tools, such as THERA-Trainer tigo, and Motomed letto 2. The improvement was particularly noticeable in mobility and ADLs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
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Article
Ethics and Automated Systems in the Health Domain: Design and Submission of a Survey on Rehabilitation and Assistance Robotics to Collect Insiders’ Opinions and Perception
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 778; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050778 - 22 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 447
Abstract
Background: The problem of the relationship between ethics and robotics is very broad, has important implications, and has two large areas of impact: the first is conduct in research, development, and use in general. The second is the implication of the programming of [...] Read more.
Background: The problem of the relationship between ethics and robotics is very broad, has important implications, and has two large areas of impact: the first is conduct in research, development, and use in general. The second is the implication of the programming of machine ethics. Purpose: Develop and administer a survey of professionals in the health domain collection of their positions on ethics in rehabilitation and assistance robotics. Methods: An electronic survey was designed using Microsoft Forms and submitted to 155 professionals in the health domain (age between 23 and 64 years; 78 males, mean age 43.7, minimum age 24, maximum age 64; 77 females, mean age 44.3, minimum age 23, maximum age 64) using social media. Results and discussion: The outcome returned: (a) the position on ethics training during university studies and in the world of work, (b) the organizational aspects hindered by ethics and those to be perfected in relation to ethics, (c) issues of ethical concern, (d) structured feedback on the usefulness of the methodology along with considerations of open text. Conclusions: An electronic survey methodology has allowed the structured collection of information on positions towards ethics in this sector. Encouraging feedback from the participants suggests the continuation of the study is beneficial. A continuation is expected, expanding the audience of professionals involved and perfecting the survey with the support of scientific companies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
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Article
The Social Robot and the Digital Physiotherapist: Are We Ready for the Team Play?
Healthcare 2021, 9(11), 1454; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9111454 - 27 Oct 2021
Viewed by 645
Abstract
Motivation: We are witnessing two phenomena. The first is that the physiotherapist is increasingly becoming a figure that must interact with Digital Health. On the other hand, social robots through research are improving more and more in the aspects of social interaction [...] Read more.
Motivation: We are witnessing two phenomena. The first is that the physiotherapist is increasingly becoming a figure that must interact with Digital Health. On the other hand, social robots through research are improving more and more in the aspects of social interaction thanks also to artificial intelligence and becoming useful in rehabilitation processes. It begins to become strategic to investigate the intersections between these two phenomena. Objective: Therefore, we set ourselves the goal of investigating the consensus and opinion of physiotherapists around the introduction of social robots in clinical practice both in rehabilitation and assistance. Procedure: An electronic survey has been developed focused on social robot-based rehabilitation and assistance and has been submitted to subjects focused on physiotherapy sciences to investigate their opinion and their level of consent regarding the use of the social robot in rehabilitation and assistance. Two samples of subjects were recruited: the first group (156 participating subjects, 79 males, 77 females, mean age 24.3 years) was in the training phase, and the second (167 participating subjects, 86 males, 81 females, mean age 42.4 years) group was involved in the work processes. An electronic feedback form was also submitted to investigate the acceptance of the proposed methodology. Results: The survey showed a consistency of the results between the two samples from which interesting considerations emerge. Contrary to stereotypes that report how AI-based devices put jobs at risk, physiotherapists are not afraid of these devices. The subjects involved in the study believe the following: (a) social robots can be reliable co-workers but will remain a complementary device; (b) their role will be of the utmost importance as an operational manager in their use and in performance monitoring; (c) these devices will allow an increase in working capacity and facilitate integration. All those involved in the study believe that the proposed electronic survey has proved to be a useful and effective tool that can be useful as a periodic monitoring tool and useful for scientific societies. Conclusions: The evolution of social robots represents an unstoppable process as does the increase in the aging of the population. Stakeholders must not look with suspicion toward these devices, which can represent an important resource, but rather invest in monitoring and consensus training initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
Article
Impacts of Human Robot Proxemics on Human Concentration-Training Games with Humanoid Robots
Healthcare 2021, 9(7), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9070894 - 15 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 979
Abstract
The use of humanoid robots within a therapeutic role, that is, helping individuals with social disorders, is an emerging field, but it remains unexplored in terms of concentration training. To seamlessly integrate humanoid robots into concentration games, an investigation into the impacts of [...] Read more.
The use of humanoid robots within a therapeutic role, that is, helping individuals with social disorders, is an emerging field, but it remains unexplored in terms of concentration training. To seamlessly integrate humanoid robots into concentration games, an investigation into the impacts of human robot interactive proxemics on concentration-training games is particularly important. In the case of an epidemic diffusion especially—for example, during the COVID-19 pandemic—HRI games may help in the therapeutic phase, significantly reducing the risk of contagion. In this paper, concentration games were designed by action imitation involving 120 participants to verify the hypothesis. Action-imitation accuracy, the assessment of emotional expression, and a questionnaire were compared with analysis of variance (ANOVA). Experimental results showed that a 2 m distance and left-front orientation for a human and a robot are optimal for human robot interactive concentration training. In addition, females worked better than males did in HRI imitation games. This work supports some valuable suggestions for the development of HRI concentration-training technology, involving the designs of friendlier and more useful robots, and HRI game scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
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Other

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Reply
Reply to Morone, G.; Giansanti, D. Comment on “Anwer et al. Rehabilitation of Upper Limb Motor Impairment in Stroke: A Narrative Review on the Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Economic Statistics of Stroke and State of the Art Therapies. Healthcare 2022, 10, 190”
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 847; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050847 - 05 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 411
Abstract
Thank you so much for your kind remarks [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
Comment
Comment on Anwer et al. Rehabilitation of Upper Limb Motor Impairment in Stroke: A Narrative Review on the Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Economic Statistics of Stroke and State of the Art Therapies. Healthcare 2022, 10, 190
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 846; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050846 - 05 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 379
Abstract
We are writing to you as the corresponding author of the interesting review study entitled “Rehabilitation of Upper Limb Motor Impairment in Stroke: A Narrative Review on the Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Economic Statistics of Stroke and State of the Art Therapies” [...] [...] Read more.
We are writing to you as the corresponding author of the interesting review study entitled “Rehabilitation of Upper Limb Motor Impairment in Stroke: A Narrative Review on the Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Economic Statistics of Stroke and State of the Art Therapies” [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
Perspective
Information Security in Medical Robotics: A Survey on the Level of Training, Awareness and Use of the Physiotherapist
Healthcare 2022, 10(1), 159; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10010159 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 660
Abstract
Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important aspect to investigate for the adoption and use of care robots, in term of both patients’ safety, and the availability, integrity and privacy of their data. This study focuses on opinions about cybersecurity relevance and related skills [...] Read more.
Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly important aspect to investigate for the adoption and use of care robots, in term of both patients’ safety, and the availability, integrity and privacy of their data. This study focuses on opinions about cybersecurity relevance and related skills for physiotherapists involved in rehabilitation and assistance thanks to the aid of robotics. The goal was to investigate the awareness among insiders about some facets of cybersecurity concerning human–robot interactions. We designed an electronic questionnaire and submitted it to a relevant sample of physiotherapists. The questionnaire allowed us to collect data related to: (i) use of robots and its relationship with cybersecurity in the context of physiotherapy; (ii) training in cybersecurity and robotics for the insiders; (iii) insiders’ self-assessment on cybersecurity and robotics in some usage scenarios, and (iv) their experiences of cyber-attacks in this area and proposals for improvement. Besides contributing some specific statistics, the study highlights the importance of both acculturation processes in this field and monitoring initiatives based on surveys. The study exposes direct suggestions for continuation of these types of investigations in the context of scientific societies operating in the rehabilitation and assistance robotics. The study also shows the need to stimulate similar initiatives in other sectors of medical robotics (robotic surgery, care and socially assistive robots, rehabilitation systems, training for health and care workers) involving insiders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
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Viewpoint
The Cybersecurity and the Care Robots: A Viewpoint on the Open Problems and the Perspectives
Healthcare 2021, 9(12), 1653; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9121653 - 29 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 812
Abstract
Care robots represent an opportunity for the health domain. The use of these robots has important implications. They can be used in surgery, rehabilitation, assistance, therapy, and other medical fields. Therefore, care robots (CR)s, have both important physical and psychological implications during their [...] Read more.
Care robots represent an opportunity for the health domain. The use of these robots has important implications. They can be used in surgery, rehabilitation, assistance, therapy, and other medical fields. Therefore, care robots (CR)s, have both important physical and psychological implications during their use. Furthermore, these devices, meet important data in clinical applications. These data must be protected. Therefore, cybersecurity (CS) has become a crucial characteristic that concerns all the involved actors. The study investigated the collocation of CRs in the context of CS studies in the health domain. Problems and peculiarities of these devices, with reference to the CS, were faced, investigating in different scientific databases. Highlights, ranging also from ethics implications up to the regulatory legal framework (ensuring safety and cybersecurity) have been reported. Models and cyber-attacks applicable on the CRs have been identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
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Opinion
Opportunities and Problems of the Consensus Conferences in the Care Robotics
Healthcare 2021, 9(12), 1624; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9121624 - 24 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 503
Abstract
Care robots represent an opportunity for the health domain. The use of these devices has important implications. They can be used in surgical operating rooms in important and delicate clinical interventions, in motion, in training-and-simulation, and cognitive and rehabilitation processes. They are [...] Read more.
Care robots represent an opportunity for the health domain. The use of these devices has important implications. They can be used in surgical operating rooms in important and delicate clinical interventions, in motion, in training-and-simulation, and cognitive and rehabilitation processes. They are involved in continuous processes of evolution in technology and clinical practice. Therefore, the introduction into routine clinical practice is difficult because this needs the stability and the standardization of processes. The agreement tools, in this case, are of primary importance for the clinical acceptance and introduction. The opinion focuses on the Consensus Conference tool and: (a) highlights its potential in the field; (b) explores the state of use; (c) detects the peculiarities and problems (d) expresses ideas on how improve its diffusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
Commentary
The Social Robot in Rehabilitation and Assistance: What Is the Future?
Healthcare 2021, 9(3), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare9030244 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1839
Abstract
This commentary aims to address the field of social robots both in terms of the global situation and research perspectives. It has four polarities. First, it revisits the evolutions in robotics, which, starting from collaborative robotics, has led to the diffusion of social [...] Read more.
This commentary aims to address the field of social robots both in terms of the global situation and research perspectives. It has four polarities. First, it revisits the evolutions in robotics, which, starting from collaborative robotics, has led to the diffusion of social robots. Second, it illustrates the main fields in the employment of social robots in rehabilitation and assistance in the elderly and handicapped and in further emerging sectors. Third, it takes a look at the future directions of the research development both in terms of clinical and technological aspects. Fourth, it discusses the opportunities and limits, starting from the development and clinical use of social robots during the COVID-19 pandemic to the increase of ethical discussion on their use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rehabilitation and Robotics: Are They Working Well Together?)
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