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Thur, Sept 08

Speaker: Sunil K. Agrawal, Ph.D., Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Delaware

Title: Mobility Training of Infants and Toddlers Using Novel Mobile Robots and Interfaces

Abstract: Mobility impaired children are limited in exploring their environment. This impacts their cognitive and social developments in important early years. This talk describes a series of studies conducted at the University of Delaware on mobility training of infants and toddlers to purposefully drive in an environment using novel prototypes of mobile robots with conventional joystick, force-feedback joysticks, mobility interfaces for crawling and walking. These robots were used to teach children “purposeful driving”, “motion primitives such as turning left and right”, “navigation within an obstacles course”, “exercising their arms and legs”. Studies of mobility training for infants and toddlers have been performed with these devices in research laboratory, preschool classrooms, and homes. The talk will summarize the design of the devices, algorithms, and results of these training studies. This research is supported by grants from National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health.

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Speaker: Neelima Agrawal, Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME), Northwestern University

Title: Adaptation in Gait of Healthy Adolescents Using a Tethered Pelvic Assistive Device (TPAD)

Abstract: Neural impaired subjects undergo intensive training to restore their gait functions. The Tethered Pelvic Assistive Device (TPAD) is a novel restraint system in which springs are attached to a pelvic brace in different configurations to load a human subject during walking. The purpose of this talk is to present how the gait of adolescent 15-16 year old males adapts and later de-adapts to the constraint forces provided by TPAD while walking on a treadmill. Specifically, we consider a TPAD configuration where an asymmetric load is applied to the pelvis to twist it counter-clockwise. We characterize this phenomena both “with” and “without” distraction, where the subjects play a Wii Mario Kart game during training. This study with healthy subjects provide us insights into how asymmetry in loading can be used  to develop effective strategies for gait training  to improve gait of subjects with cerebral palsy and stroke.

This research was performed at “Rehabilitation Robotics Laboratory” at the University of Delaware Mechanical Engineering under the sponsorship of an NSF undergraduate research program.

Host:  Dr. Rymer