Robotics for Restoring and Augmenting Human Capabilities

Presented by Jim Schmiedeler & Patrick Wensing

Technological advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence have been linked to potentially negative changes in the future workforce, but those same advancements are having a dramatic positive impact on rehabilitation following injury right now. This seminar will explore the state of the art in this domain and the technological limitations that still must be overcome to fully restore lost abilities and/or augment healthy human performance. Topics will include: powered exoskeletons that facilitate walking after spinal cord injury and can enhance healthy human endurance and strength; prostheses that approximate but do yet not replicate lost limb function; and a variety of clinical hardware that helps to optimize the use of limited therapy time to achieve better rehabilitation outcomes. Hands-on activities inside research labs on campus will highlight motion capture technology for quantifying human performance.


About Jim Schmiedeler & Patrick Wensing

Jim Schmiedeler and Pat Wensing are both faculty in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering whose collaboration in experimental legged robotics research goes back a dozen years. Dr. Schmiedeler is a mechanical engineer by training who has built walking biped robots and partnered with physical therapists in his research of technology-assisted rehabilitation following stroke and spinal cord injury. Dr. Wensing is an electrical engineer by training who has developed control algorithms for running quadruped robots and assistive robotic devices. The two are currently working together on projects involving exoskeletons and lower-limb prostheses.