For Immediate Release
Monday, December 8, 2014
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
NIH funds robots to assist people with disabilities
Robots interact with patients to help in rehabilitation and movement
New research in robotics might help with stroke rehabilitation, guide wheelchairs, and assist children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Projects investigating co-robotics are the focus of new funding from the National Institutes of Health.
This is the third year NIH has participated in the Interagency National Robotics Initiative (NRI) to support research to develop innovative co-robots—robots that work cooperatively with people. Other participants are the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Funding for these projects totals approximately $2.3 million over the next five years, subject to the availability of funds.
“Technology is becoming more and more adaptable in all areas of our life, from GPS in cars to speech recognition technology on smart phones,” said Grace Peng, Ph.D., program director of Rehabilitation Engineering at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). “With these awards, we hope to encourage robotics researchers to think of new ways to apply their technology in the realm of health care.”
Wearable exoskeletons to induce recovery of function
Richard Brent Gillespie, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Funded by NIBIB, EB019834
A computer vision-based active learning co-robot wheelchair
Gang Hua, Ph.D., Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey
Funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, NR015371
Music-based interactive robotic orchestration for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Many new technologies for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been developed and demonstrated the possibilities of robotic applications in therapy, but most rely on speech interaction and task-based scenarios. To more effectively stimulate the various emotional and social interactivities of children with ASD, researchers need to take further steps to incorporate multiple types of stimuli. Recent studies have shown improvements in social skills among children with autism who were encouraged to improvise with musical instruments or song. This project aims to develop a music-based system that will help children with ASD interact with a robotic companion in a safe and natural manner. The results of this study have the potential to help develop innovative interventions for ASD.
Chung Hyuk Park, Ph.D., New York Institute of Technology, New York City
Funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shiver National Institute of Child Health and Development, HD082914
The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for NRI funding in 2015 was announced in Oct. 16, 2014 and NIH is specifically promoting assistive robotic technology. NIH will accept applications for exoskeletons or surgical robotics directly through NIH FOAs, and not through the NRI, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-EB-14-008.html.
About the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering: NIBIB’s mission is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The Institute is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care. NIBIB supports emerging technology research and development within its internal laboratories and through grants, collaborations, and training. More information is available at the NIBIB website: http://www.nibib.nih.gov.
NINR supports basic and clinical research that develops the knowledge to build the scientific foundation for clinical practice, prevent disease and disability, manage and eliminate symptoms caused by illness, and enhance end-of-life and palliative care. For more information about NINR, visit the website at http://www.ninr.nih.gov.
About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s website at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.