I joined the Robotic Research Centre in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of the Nanyang Technological University in Jan 2013 when I started my supervision of Prof Ang Wei Tech, and I have left. My research proposal became the focus of my PhD activities and one of the main activities of the Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore, founded in 2016.
Mobile Robotic Assistive Balance Trainer
Balance control probably has the greatest impact on independence in activities of daily living (ADL) because it is a fundamental motor skill and prerequisite to maintaining a myriad of postures and mobile activities. A consequence of weakened balance control is fall. We propose a Mobile Robotic Assistive Balance Trainer to administer standing and mobile balance control assistance and training at home or in the community. The targeted group is people with high to medium fall risk. The proposed system consists of a follow-me robotic wheelchair with a robotic arm to provide balance assistance to the user only when the body’s centre of mass deviates beyond the predefined safety boundary, mimicking the helping hands of a parent when a toddler learns to walk. Special attention has been paid to the timing of balance assistance intervention in the design of the control algorithm. The system allows the execution of the central nervous system controlled balance mechanism before the robot intervenes to provide balance assistance to promote motor re-learning. By allowing more balance practices in standing and mobile ADL without the danger of falling, we hypothesize that this approach will promote proper recovery in motor skills dependent on balance ability and eventually lead to a lower risk of falls. The project aims to perform proof-of-concept trials on healthy elderly subjects and plans to target patient trials in the future.