This Major Research Instrumentation grant will develop a new experimental exoskeleton for rehabilitation that will stimulate a wide range of research studies to improve the lives of individuals who have difficulty walking due to a stroke, spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy. Studies have shown that individuals with ambulation disabilities express a preference for being able to walk independently in their communities. Robotic exoskeletons that have motors to assist with leg joint movement have sparked great interest, but have not yet been able to provide the quality of walking that meets user needs. Walking is robotic and slow, and only works on very flat surfaces. These devices do not yet work in the real world.
This grant will allow New Jersey Institute of Technology to develop a research-quality exoskeleton that will be used in more than twelve projects aimed at improving the ability of exoskeletons to provide assistance in the home and community. The new exoskeleton will have powerful motors to support all major movements of the human leg, as well as a large array of sensors. It will have the computer power to explore exciting new approaches to both user and automatic control of walking and balance. The projects will address important engineering and scientific questions about human-robot interaction, and will produce more effective user-robot interfaces that are intuitive, easy to learn, and allow the user to keep his/her balance. This research will help define the capabilities that are essential in a commercial exoskeleton and will the next generation of commercial products. This work supports the mission of the NSF by providing essential technological study of robot controls, robot sensors and computational methods, human performance, and the neuroscience of walking. This science is essential to promoting further advances in neurorehabilitation services and rehabilitation product development. In addition, its presence in a major technological university will have a major impact on the education of graduate and undergraduate students, as well as bringing technological excitement to a large number of secondary school students.
|Effective start/end date||10/1/16 → 9/30/19|
- National Science Foundation: $225,500.00