[PAST] A Novel Approach to Robotic Walking Therapy
[PAST] A Novel Approach to Robotic Walking Therapy 
2013 / 09 / 17 / PM 4:30
Location: 301 - 1420
Speaker: Jooeun Ahn
Jooeun Ahn graduated from Seoul National University with summa cum laude honor in 2001. From 2001 to 2004, he participated in development of an AEGIS destroyer in Hyundai Heavy Industries. He received M.S. and Ph.D from MIT in 2006 and 2011, respectively. Since 2010, he has conducted experiments at Veterans Affairs Medical Center as an employed research staff. He is currently a Postdoctoral Associate in Newman Laboratory for Biomechanics and Human Rehabilitation at MIT. His research interest includes dynamics of human walking, human motor control and nonlinear dynamics.
Rehabilitation of human motor function is an issue of the utmost significance, and the demand for the effective rehabilitation service is even growing with the graying of the population. Robotic technology has provided promising ways to assist recovery of the motor function of upper extremities. In contrast, current robotic therapy for lower extremities has shown inferior efficacy. In this presentation, I will address the source of the limited efficacy of current robotic walking therapy and propose a novel strategy: dynamically entraining human gait with periodic torque from a robot. In pilot experiments, entrainment and phase locking to the periodic torque have been rigorously observed, supporting the feasibility of the proposed rehabilitation strategy. A highly simplified walking model without supra-spinal control reproduces these observations, suggesting that the proposed entrainment therapy may be effective for a wide range of neurological impairments including spinal cord injury as well as stroke.