SBIR Phase I: Inferring Neural State with a Home-Based Robotic System

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0946015
Agency Tracking Number: 0946015
Amount: $140,812.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: IC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
4108 Eastern Ave. N, Seattle, WA, 98103
DUNS: 830004177
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Gerald Chu
 (425) 649-1881
Business Contact
 Gerald Chu
Title: PhD
Phone: (425) 649-1881
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to conduct R&D needed for the commercialization of a home-based rehabilitation robot for people with motor disabilities primarily caused by stroke. Currently, the best level of care for stroke survivors ? daily occupational and physical therapy for a several months ? is rarely achieved because of under-coverage by insurance, the hassle of going to a clinic, and survivors? own motivation levels. The first objective of the research is to validate the accuracy of the rehabilitation robot. The second objective is to implement a method to determine muscle activation (stiffness) using the robot. This method will then be validated by comparing human muscle activation trends found by the robot, and comparing these trends to those found in the literature. It is anticipated that the robot will meet its design criteria of accuracy and will be able to correctly determine muscle activation. Finally, a fun exercise environment will be created to feed the muscle activation back to the user to encourage him/her to decrease stiffness. This will help them move more naturally and regain the ability to independently perform activities of daily living. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is significant, especially to motor-disabled stroke survivors and their families. Every year, 250,000 Americans are left with impaired motor functions after stroke. Rehabilitating these people will allow them and their families to live more independently. The commercial impact comes from advancing the state-of-the-art by bringing research findings, such as the importance of tracking muscle activation in the rehabilitation process, to an underserved segment of the market. Current rehabilitation devices are mostly used in clinics because they are too expensive for users to purchase themselves. The home-based robotic device will complement clinical rehabilitation. Furthermore, this project will have an impact on research by contributing improved ways to display neural state parameters (like muscle activation) to users, regardless of what rehabilitation device they happen to use.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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