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Posted By Dr James Patton


HHS Grant Award Number: 90RE5010-01-01 HHS CFDA Number: 93.433

Funding Agency

National Institute on Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and its partners will develop an internationally acclaimed center designed to develop and evaluate the utility of robotics for rehabilitation. This center will work toward a future where robotics for rehabilitation are used from applications in therapy to assistance in improvement of managing life after neural injury. As in the past cycles, the focus is substantially on recovery from stroke because they are the largest user group requiring intensive rehabilitation and assistance. However, it will also be a pilot for new applications in spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and aging, which are also suitable to this maturing field.

Our broad objective is to broaden the use of robotic devices for therapy and/or assistance. While such devices can monitor gains in movement ability, they will also encourage people to train effectively, and will be part of their users’ lives by assisting them in accomplishing desired activities beyond the laboratory.

Machines Assisting Recovery from Stroke (MARS) is a center of excellence established by funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) program. Our research focuses on robots for rehabilitation therapy after hemispheric stroke, which is the most common neurological disorder that requires intensive and prolonged rehabilitation. Devices that assist the therapist in providing rationally based, intensive and long duration stroke treatments can also be used to monitor progress and help improve functional performance.

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, together with its multi-national partners at Northwestern UniversityUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoIllinois Institute of Technology,  University of California at IrvineETH in Zurich , INAOE, Puebla, Mexico and UAB | The University of Alabama at Birmingham  make up a multi-center effort to use robots to explore new approaches that improve functional outcomes during either reach-and-grasp or full body locomotion activities. There are six key sub-projects of intensive study: development, research and training.

Research training is a critical component that includes medical students, residents, physical therapists, occupational therapists and graduate students in engineering and neuroscience. We will leverage the AbiltyLab Academy for continuing education, on-site training and archived web-based presentations network.