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Special Issue – Rehabilitation Robotics

By Nitish Thakor

This issue we bring you news, photos, and video clips from an “Unconference” on the use of robotics as an aid to rehabilitation. This event, part of the recent EMBC 2012 Conference, was the second of its kind. The format includes a workshop and demos. Three demos received prizes for their entries – you will find articles based on their entries in this Newsletter. The articles have links to video clips that illustrate the practical work underway at a number of laboratories to help patients lead more productive and fulfilling lives with the aid of robotics technology.
We also feature a video clip of a prior interview with Dr. Paolo Bonato, who chairs the Organizing Committee for the Unconference.

In an interview made at the EMBC 2011, Paolo Bonato, of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, speaks on his expectations of developments over the next decade in the field of neuroengineering and rehabilitation.

A group from Vanderbilt University demonstrates a dexterious prosthetic hand the have developed, in ‘Multigrasp Hand Prosthesis and Myoelectric Control Method for Enhancing the Functional Capability of Upper Extremity Amputees’.

In ‘Kinect-Wheelchair Interface Controlled (KWIC) Robotic Trainer for Powered Mobility’, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, demonstrate a robotic trainer, which helps a child with severe disabilities learn how to drive a powered wheelchair.

Robotics come to the aid of patients with untreatable tremors, as described in ‘A Wearable Neuroprosthesis for the Suppression of Pathological Tremor’ by a group at CSIC, Arganda del Rey, Madrid, Spain.

We look forward to your active participation in this Newsletter. We hope that many of you will send us your comments and suggestions and submit cutting-edge scientific news stories, share emerging technologies, discoveries and breakthroughs for possible publication in future issues. Send them to us at

Nitish Thakor, Editor-In-Chief
Lee Moffitt, Managing Editor

About the Newsletter

The IEEE Life Sciences Newsletter is a new initiative to bring forth interesting articles and informative interviews within the exciting field of life sciences every month. Please subscribe to the Newsletter to receive notification each month when new articles are published.

November 2012 Contributors

Nitish V. ThakorNitish V. Thakor is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, as well as the Director of the newly formed institute for neurotechnology, SiNAPSE, at the National University of Singapore. Read more

Paolo BonatoPaolo Bonato, Ph.D., serves as Director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, MA. Read more

Skyler Ashton DalleySkyler Ashton Dalley received a B.E. degree in mechanical engineering, in 2007, from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, where he is currently a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering. Read more

Dan ZondervanDan Zondervan holds a B.S in Electrical Engineering from Calvin College, a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from U.C. Irvine, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Read more

David J. ReinkensmeyerDavid J. Reinkensmeyer received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering... Read more