30+ years of Robotics for Neuro-Rehabilitation: lessons learned and challenges ahead

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Presenter: Dr. Alejandro Melendez-Calderon, Senior Lecturer, University of Queensland

Abstract:

In the past decades, we have seen tremendous technological developments inspired for neurorehabilitation and restoration of movement (e.g. robotic devices, exoskeletons, wearable sensors).  Although there is no doubt that technology adoption in the clinics is increasing, such devices i) are not helping patients the way we expected and ii) are sometimes ‘stored in the closet’ due to their complexity and poor usability. Where should we, engineers, focus our efforts to make technology-assisted rehabilitation a real deal-breaker in healthcare?  I believe that there are two missing links in the field of technology-assisted rehabilitation to make a great impact in the clinic. First, we need to recognize that usability and human factors design embedded in technology is as important as the therapeutic benefits it can provide. Second, we need to acknowledge that, as long as we do not have tools that allow us to determine the causality of underlying impairments, the therapeutic benefits of these new technologies will remain obscure.

In this talk, I will present how a transdisciplinary approach of robotics and neuro-mechanical modelling represents a fundamental step towards principled methods for understanding the cause and effect of different neuromuscular impairments to body function. This understanding is critical to the field of medical robotics used for diagnosis and can tackle multiple gaps between medical, biomedical and engineering sciences with numerous potential dividends in education, technology development and basic research.

  

Short Bio

Dr. Alejandro Melendez-Calderon has an interdisciplinary background in robotics and biomedical engineering with focus in human augmentation technologies used in medicine (robotics, wearable devices) and computational approaches to understand human neuromuscular control (unimpaired, stroke and SCI population). He has over 15 years of experience gained in academic, clinical and industrial environments.  He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Medical Robotics and Neuromechanics at the University of Queensland (2020-present). He was previously a Senior Research Scientist and acting Head of Technology at the cereneo Advanced Rehabilitation Institute / cereneo Center for Neurology and Rehabilitation (Switzerland; 2017-2019), where he led and conducted research in the area of neuromechanics of movement deficits after stroke. He was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Northwestern University (USA; 2014-2020) and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (2012-2013), where he conducted research in cross-modal multisensory interactions and assessment of neuromuscular impairments. He led the areas of Robotic Hand Rehabilitation and Assessments, and work on adaptive control of robotic trainers at Hocoma AG (Switzerland; 2014-2016). He was a Guest Researcher at ETH Zurich (Switzerland; 2016-2019), where he conducted research in biomechanics and motor control/learning. He received his PhD degree from Imperial College London (UK; 2007-2011) for research in robotic rehabilitation and human motor control. Alejandro has a scientific interest in understanding principled mechanisms of human behavior, in particular related to movement control/learning and physical interaction; his technical interests are in robotics and computational modelling for medical diagnostics, assistive applications & (bio)medical education.

Start Time: 11.20am (AEST, Brisbane) - 12.20pm (AEDT, Sydney)



  Date and Time

  Location

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  Registration



  • Date: 16 Feb 2021
  • Time: 11:20 AM to 12:00 PM
  • All times are (UTC+10:00) Brisbane
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Register via Zoom using this link: 

https://qut.zoom.us/j/86189681580?pwd=bWcwUFgzRXpDUWxGTDJsR2wzcGpnZz09

 

  • Co-sponsored by QUT Centre for Robotics


  Speakers

Dr Alejandro Melendez-Calderon of University of Queensland

Topic:

30+ years of Robotics for NeuroRehabilitation: lessons learned and challenges ahead

Biography:

Dr. Alejandro Melendez-Calderon has an interdisciplinary background in robotics and biomedical engineering with focus in human augmentation technologies used in medicine (robotics, wearable devices) and computational approaches to understand human neuromuscular control (unimpaired, stroke and SCI population). He has over 15 years of experience gained in academic, clinical and industrial environments.  He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Medical Robotics and Neuromechanics at the University of Queensland (2020-present). He was previously a Senior Research Scientist and acting Head of Technology at the cereneo Advanced Rehabilitation Institute / cereneo Center for Neurology and Rehabilitation (Switzerland; 2017-2019), where he led and conducted research in the area of neuromechanics of movement deficits after stroke. He was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Northwestern University (USA; 2014-2020) and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (2012-2013), where he conducted research in cross-modal multisensory interactions and assessment of neuromuscular impairments. He led the areas of Robotic Hand Rehabilitation and Assessments, and work on adaptive control of robotic trainers at Hocoma AG (Switzerland; 2014-2016). He was a Guest Researcher at ETH Zurich (Switzerland; 2016-2019), where he conducted research in biomechanics and motor control/learning. He received his PhD degree from Imperial College London (UK; 2007-2011) for research in robotic rehabilitation and human motor control. Alejandro has a scientific interest in understanding principled mechanisms of human behavior, in particular related to movement control/learning and physical interaction; his technical interests are in robotics and computational modelling for medical diagnostics, assistive applications & (bio)medical education.

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