Innovative robotic technology promotes neurorehabilitation: past, present and future.

Anna McCormick
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa


  1. Define robotics emergence in rehabilitation.
  2. Increase awareness of robotics research in neurorehabilitation in cerebral palsy (CP) and acquired brain injury (ABI), with a focus on training, function and participation.
  3. Promote multidisciplinary discussion re: future research in rehabilitation robotics.

Summary: Robotics and Medicine (Hana Alazem B.Sc PT, MD, FRCPC (Pediatrics)): What is a robot? This will be answered along with a look back on development of robotic technology in medicine and rehabilitation.

Neurorehabilitation (Virginia Wright B.Sc PT, M.Sc, PhD): Many forms of neurorehabilitation recommend repetitive exercise. Robotic devices such as Lokomat); gait trainer, Haptic Walker);, and TREXO Plus); are designed in delivering such programming. Lokomat use for youth with CP (ages 5 to 12 years, GMFCS I-IV) will be highlighted in the context of an RCT (Hilderley et al., 2016 and Wright et al., 2017) and linked with qualitative results (Beveridge et al., 2015; Phelan et al., 2015; Babij et al.), giving an evidence-informed example of neurorehabilitation use. Our recent research in children with ABI will be profiled and contrasted regarding the motor re-learning potential of the intervention with these children. 
 Function and Participation (Anna McCormick MD, FRCPC): Robots can enable upper extremity function, fall prevention and mobilization. New evidence for use of a robotic walker by youth with CP GMFCS II-IV will be reviewed, highlighting hands-free use for exercise and participation in community settings (McCormick et al. 2016). Preliminary data on an innovative, newly designed pediatric combined walker and robotic exoskeleton device will enable a look forward to exciting new research.

Images and videos of the robots and children/youth utilizing them will be shared, as well as important qualitative consumer voice feedback which drives this innovation. An interactive multidisciplinary discussion on the use of robotics in rehabilitation will complete the session.

Outline: 1) Historic overview of robotic use in rehabilitation. 2) Presentation of new innovative research in robotics and technology promoting training, function, exercise and participation. 3) Interactive multidisciplinary discussion on the use of robotics in rehabilitation.