Utilising Socially Assistive Robots (SARs) and Haptic Feedback to Motivate Upper Limb Stroke Rehabilitation

To investigate, design, develop, and evaluate a system to assist stroke survivors in performing standard rehabilitation exercises in the comfort of their home using a combination of SARs, wearables and visual processing technologies.
Description of the Project: 

Upper limb rehabilitation after stroke is generally self-managed post-hospital [1] but the rehabilitation starts in the hospital, the plan is to investigate how current rehabilitation practices for stroke survivors can be improved. The PhD student would start by exploring the available monitoring technologies and investigating which monitoring tactic, or combination of tactics, is the most appropriate. The student would then investigate and compare qualitatively and quantitatively other means of motivating stroke survivors.  Ayoade et al. [2] showed that an on-screen avatar with haptic feedback was more effective than a booklet at attaining proper execution and increased motivation to engage. Thus, the extension of this study to Socially Assistive Robots and haptic devices for promoting adherence to stroke rehabilitation is a novel and reasonable approach.

We predict that correct adjustments based on feedback from users in different environments will allow us to create a system that is critically both safe (as we do not want a robot providing rehabilitation advice, which would make a patient worse) and feasible for stroke survivors to use. 

Resources required: 
Pepper or HSR robot. A very small about of funds in order to work with textiles on wearables or to purchase relevant wearables, costs would be around 100 to 200 pounds.
Project number: 
First Supervisor: 
Heriot-Watt University
Second Supervisor(s): 
First supervisor university: 
Heriot-Watt University
Essential skills and knowledge: 
Degree in CS or MEng in Robotics or equivalent.

1.         G. Alankus, A. Lazar, M. May, and C. Kelleher. 2010. Towards customizable games for stroke rehabilitation. Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems –(CHI ’10), ACM Press, 2113. doi:10.1145/1753326.1753649

2.         M. Ayoade, S. Uzor, and L. Baillie. 2013. The Development and Evaluation of an Interactive System for Age Related Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation in the Home. In P. Kotzé, G. Marsden, G. Lindgaard, J. Wesson, M. Winckler (eds) Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2013. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 1-18.