EU funding win to help remote control limbs of stroke victims
Therapists will be able to remote control a stroke victim’s limbs to help them get better, thanks to a new funding win for the University of Portsmouth.
Robot specialists from the School of Computing will develop the first robotic exoskeleton to help stroke patients regain strength in their upper limbs, which can be controlled remotely.
An exoskeleton is an external frame that can be worn to support the body, giving limbs extra movement, strength and endurance. This new generation of exoskeleton robot will help rehabilitate nearly 200,000 stroke patients.
The three-year-project, which will bring together cutting-edge technology in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, cloud computing and exoskeleton control, has been awarded €5,000,000 funding, with over €770,000 going to the University of Portsmouth as lead partner.
This is an exciting project, which will help thousands of people to regain limb function and movement. There is no other product on the market like this at the moment.
A team from the University is leading on Project AiBle which aims to benefit stroke patients and healthcare providers across southern England and northern France.
A stroke is a serious life-threatening condition that happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off. Rehabilitation helps stroke patients make the best recovery possible and re-learn skills for everyday life.
Dr Zhaojie Ju is the Principle Investigator of the EU AiBle project. He said: “This is an exciting project, which will help thousands of people to regain limb function and movement.
“Our novel rehabilitation protocol combined with the updated exoskeleton robot will be designed with improved functionality which will reduce the time of each treatment and allow for simultaneous and remote multiple treatments by therapists.
“There is no other product on the market like this at the moment.”
Dr Ju and colleagues Dr Dalin Zhou and Professor Honghai Liu will develop wearable sensing and interpreting devices to better recognise the motion intention of post-stroke patients during the rehabilitation process. This wearable technology – with embedded algorithms for biological signal analysis – will be developed to function independently and support the exoskeleton control.
The advanced functionality of this exoskeleton robot will enable remote and active rehabilitation, so patients can exercise by themselves as well as with a therapist controlling movement from a remote location.
Project AiBle is funded by the Interreg France (Channel) England scheme, an EU programme set up to foster economic development in the south of the UK and the north of France by funding innovative projects which have a sustainable cross-border benefit for the eligible regions.
The University is working with eight other partner organisations across academia and industry.