The Harris Family Foundation Arms + Hands Lab spans two floors in the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (21-22), which are connected by a therapeutic, practical and graceful flight of stairs. In this Lab patients, doctors and researchers work on advancing hand function and movement, body and upper-limb coordination, strength, reaching and hand control (including individual finger manipulation). Therapeutic care and scientific interventions include one-on-one and group therapeutic activities.


State-of-the-art research methods and approaches in this Lab include experimental electromyography, movement analysis, kinetic analysis, biomechanics, sensor technologies, brain and/or other imaging, brain physiology, musculoskeletal physiology, experimental biologics, experimental pharmacotherapeutics, and emerging technologies and use of smart devices.

Recent Research Projects

One of our patients said it best: "If I could just move my thumb again, my whole life would change." Our scientists are focused on leveraging therapy and technology to help patients meet their goals.


Collaborative Machines Enhancing Therapies (COMET)

The Collaborative Machines Enhancing Therapies (COMET) center brings together four research and four development projects aimed at improving how patients move and are able to manage and use objects in everyday life.

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Photographs of FCU-to-EDU

Intraoperative Hand Measurements

Restoring function and correcting joint deformities.

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X-Glove Demo

Altering activation patterns post-stroke

This study evaluates a new rehabilitation approach for stroke survivors in the chronic phase of recovery in which the combination of drug therapy (cyproheptadine) and active movement practice (AMP) is used to encourage increased voluntary muscle control and strength.

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By The Numbers

The Arms + Hands lab is singularly focused on improving functionality of arms, hands and fingers. Check out some of the numbers that make this space so special.

  • 26K

    The square footage of the Arms + Hands Lab on floors 21 & 22 of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. In this space, you'll find our engineers and clinical staff collaborating around unique devices like the Armeo, which is designed to improve coordination.

  • 56

    The number of steps in the staircase connecting the two floors of this Lab. This powerful tool for improving human movement is equipped with an antigravity lift track supporting patients' weight.

  • 21

    The floor that houses the Medical Education Suite, home base for the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) Residency Program.