Rehabilitation and Health Care Robotics

  • H.F. Machiel Van der LoosEmail author
  • David J. Reinkensmeyer
  • Eugenio Guglielmelli
Part of the Springer Handbooks book series (SHB)


The field of rehabilitation robotics considers robotic systems that 1) provide therapy for persons seeking to recover their physical, social, communication, or cognitive function, and/or that 2) assist persons who have a chronic disability to accomplish activities of daily living. This chapter will discuss these two main domains and provide descriptions of the major achievements of the field over its short history and chart out the challenges to come. Specifically, after providing background information on demographics (Sect. 64.1.2) and history (Sect. 64.1.3) of the field, Sect. 64.2 describes physical therapy and exercise training robots, and Sect. 64.3 describes robotic aids for people with disabilities. Section 64.4 then presents recent advances in smart prostheses and orthoses that are related to rehabilitation robotics. Finally, Sect. 64.5 provides an overview of recent work in diagnosis and monitoring for rehabilitation as well as other health-care issues. The reader is referred to Chap.  73 for cognitive rehabilitation robotics and to Chap.  65 for robotic smart home technologies, which are often considered assistive technologies for persons with disabilities. At the conclusion of the present chapter, the reader will be familiar with the history of rehabilitation robotics and its primary accomplishments, and will understand the challenges the field may face in the future as it seeks to improve health care and the well being of persons with disabilities.


Smart Home Grand Challenge Assistive Robot Rehabilitation Robot Movement Ability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

activities for daily living


active leg exoskeleton


assistive robot service manipulator


brain-computer interface


brain imaging


body-weight supported treadmill training


Atomic Energy Commission


center of mass


cerebral palsy


direct current


degree of freedom


Defense Sciences Office






extended physiological proprioception


electrical stimulation


European Union


evolving morphologies for human–robot symbiotic interaction


functional magnetic resonance imaging


functional neural stimulation


intelligent wheelchair system


lower extremity nonanthropomorphic robot


lower extremity powered exoskeleton




mirror image motion enabler

mirror image movement enhancer


multimodal immersive motion rehabilitation with interactive cognitive system


Massachusetts Institute of Technology


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research


near infrared spectroscopy


National Institute of Standards and Technology


navigation and obstacle avoidance help


national robotics initiative


Oxford intelligent machine


prosthetics and orthotic


professional vocational assistive robot


Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center


repetitive TMS


spinal cord injury


series elastic actuator


transcranial direct current stimulation


transcranial magnetic stimulation


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • H.F. Machiel Van der Loos
    • 1
    Email author
  • David J. Reinkensmeyer
    • 2
  • Eugenio Guglielmelli
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Anatomy and NeurobiologyUniversity of California at IrvineIrvineUSA
  3. 3.Faculty Department of EngineeringUniversity Campus Bio-Medico of RomeRomeItaly

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