Northwestern Events Calendar


Ms. Joanna Butchart, Senior PT: Developing a socially assistive robot for Paediatric Rehabilitation.

When: Monday, September 16, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  

Where: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, 10th floor Conference A-B, 355 E. Erie, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Andrea Domenighetti  

Group: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Research Seminar Series

Category: Lectures & Meetings



Current rehabilitation robots typically assist through physical interactions with patients, such as through an exoskeleton or other device, but do socially assistive robots (SARs) also have a role in rehabilitation? At times rehabilitation requires repetitive practice of exercises or motor tasks which can be somewhat boring, especially for children! It is proposed that SARs, which primarily provide assistance through their social interactions, may provide increased motivation and engagement during rehabilitation sessions and contribute to motor learning through demonstration, feedback and promotion of increased repetitions. A collaboration between engineers from Swinburne University, Melbourne and clinicians at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne has led to the development of NAO, a commercially available SAR, as a therapeutic aid for pediatric rehabilitation. While a number of groups have looked at the use of robots such as NAO for rehabilitation support, to our knowledge this is the most widely tested system within a hospital setting, and in which the NAO robot is programmed and configured to deliver both demonstration and coaching in specific lower limb exercises as a stand-alone system. In this presentation Joanna will describe the in-situ design and collaborative model that has been critical to ensuring the clinical utility of the NAO robot. She will demonstrate the current technology, through clinical videos, and describe the quantitative and qualitative research the team has performed and is using to further develop the NAO as a rehabilitation robot.

Speaker Info:

Joanna Butchart completed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honors at the University of Melbourne, Australia and then went on to study a Master of Physiotherapy (Paediatrics) at the University of Queensland. Since 2010 Joanna has worked as a physiotherapist for the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (VPRS), based at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. VPRS provides interdisciplinary rehabilitation to children with developmental and acquired injuries including cerebral palsy, acquired brain injuries and spinal cord injury. In 2013 Joanna spent 12 months at the Colonial War memorial Hospital in Fiji, volunteering as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development. On return to Australia she completed a Master of Public Health at the University of New South Wales. Joanna and has an interest in the way new technologies may contribute to rehabilitation and functional outcomes of children and this is her current research focus.

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