Assessment Robotics: Accurate and Reliable Assessment for Optimal Rehabilitation

Hyung-Soon Park
Hyung-Soon Park
Rehabilitation Medicine Department, Clinical Research Center,National Institutes of Health, Korea
December 6, 2012, 16:40 ~ 17:20

Abstract :

With the improvements in medicine in the last few decades, people are living longer, but with multiple, often complex, health conditions. From an epidemiological standpoint, the cohort of “baby boomers” in the developed countries is now reaching an age at which they will begin to severely stress the health care system. Rehabilitation robotics is considered as one of the solutions to improve health care systems in the upcoming aged society. Majority of recent applications in rehabilitation robotics have been on intelligent mobility aids, assistive robots, and therapeutic robots. While those three applications aimed at helping patients with physical impairments, this presentation will introduce two research projects performed at NIH clinical center to show how the robotic devices can potentially help clinicians by providing tools for accurate and reliable assessment.

The first example will show how the haptic devices can potentially improve clinical assessment of spasticity which has suffered from poor reliability. Being dependent on subjective haptic feel, conventional spasticity assessment in clinical setting had poor inter/intra-rater reliability. The presentation will introduce a haptic simulator that was developed in NIH clinical center to quantify and standardize the haptic feel during the clinical assessment.

Next, the presentation will show how robotic devices equipped with advanced techniques such as bio- mimetic control and virtual reality can be used for new clinical assessment which has not been available. Freezing of gait (FOG) is a commonly observed phenomenon in Parkinson’s disease (PD), but its causes and mechanisms are not fully understood yet. A virtual reality (VR)-based body-weight supported treadmill interface (BWSTI) was developed to provide a safe and controlled walking platform which allows investigators to assess gait impairments under various conditions that simulate real life walking. We have conducted a pilot study and the virtual walking was realistic enough to elicit FOG, which implies that the VR-based walking platform can be used for investigating cause and characteristics of various gait impairments.


Research Area :

Rehabilitation Engineering


Honors and Awards :

  • Graduated with Honor (President Prize, Rank 1), Department of Mechanical Engineering, KAIST, 1994
  • Mary Switzer Distinguished Fellowship from US department of Education, NIDRR (National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research), 2008
  • Keynote speakers of 2011 Annual CNRM (Center for NeuroScience and Regenerative Medicine)
  • Meeting and 2008 KSB (Korean Society of Biomechanics)


Professional Career(highlight) :

  • 2004: Ph. D. KAIST
  • 2006-2009: Research Scientist at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University
  • 2006-2009: Director of Engineering, Rehabtek LLC, Wilmette IL.
  • 2008: Distinguished Fellow of NIDRR, US Dept of Education
  • 2009-Present: Staff Scientist/Principal Investigator at National Institutes of Health (NIH)