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Left to their own devices: new robotic devices for self-physiotherapy

Join experts from Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust for a presentation of their work on robotic devices for physiotherapy.

About this event

Professor Etienne Burdet, Professor of Human Robotics in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London, will talk about his work on programming human learning behaviour into robots to help humans complete physical tasks. Professor Burdet will outline how researchers paired human participants with robots that were programmed to perform either better or worse at a joystick task than the human. They found that the robots that were ‘better’ than their humans appeared to correct, or compensate for, the human’s movements to make them perform better. The robots that were ‘worse’ than their humans also somehow improved the performance of their human partners. Professor Burdet believes that believe the findings could be used in the future to help patients rehabilitate from stroke – for example, using robots to deliver physiotherapy.

Dr Paul Bentley, Consultant Neurologist at the Trust and Clinical Director of The Imperial College Network of Excellence of Rehabilitation Technology, will talk about his work developing devices to help people with disabilities perform physiotherapy by themselves.

One such device is GripAble™ - a lightweight, low-cost electronic handgrip, which interacts wirelessly with standard smartphones and tablets enabling people with arm disability to play hand and arm exercise games. The device enables more than 90% of stroke patients to perform their own physiotherapy enabling significantly greater rehabilitation intensity than currently affordable on the NHS. The product’s effectiveness has been recognised by multiple awards and resulted in a successful university spin-out, raising more than £3.5 million in private and government funding.

Dr Bentley will outline how GripAble™ was invented, and the impact it has in hospitals and home around the world. He will also discuss further development plans including a world-wide “social therapy network” of interactively-exercising patients, and self-administered exercise games for back pain.