Innovations in rehabilitation
The Innovations in Rehabilitation Technology Development initiative combines formal education programs, faculty and student project development, and support and facilitation of device development and distribution. The program creates a one-stop-shop environment that assists both the novice and experienced innovator throughout the University of Utah system through ideation, concept generation, intellectual property, market analysis, prototyping and testing, non-profit business plan development, and distribution. Business plan development is focused on maximizing societal impact. The program will enhance faculty and student professional development by developing unique multi-disciplinary educational programs in rehabilitation product creation. The program will capitalize on the motivation, intelligence, and humanistic qualities inherent to students within the University system to create a non-profit and sustainable business model by integrating real-world product development into a stable academic curriculum and engaging students to participate not only in the creation of a novel device but in the labor involved in larger scale device production, distribution, training, and repair.
Robotic eccentric exercise therapy to improve treatment of lateral Epicondylalgia
The vast majority of robotic exercise therapy is focused on neuromuscular rehabilitation for patients with stroke and spinal cord injuries. The ability of robotic assisted therapy to improve the treatment paradigm for common tendinopathies like lateral epicondylalgia (LE) is uncertain. An instrument capable of providing patient-specific eccentric exercise therapy (EET) is necessary to progress research related to identifying optimal treatment protocols for tendinopathies like LE. Although the benefit of robotically controlled therapeutic devices over conventional therapy has been questioned for upper extremity rehabilitation, the cost-benefit of exploring intensive EET using robotics could be substantial, and should be considered.
The objective of this research is to expand the state-of-the-art of robotic therapy by developing and characterizing a new device and treatment strategy for EET. To accomplish this, we will develop a novel force-feedback robotic system that provides users with the ability to identify patient-specific EET protocols to treat LE. Specifically, the goal of this study is to develop, characterize and test a robotic device designed to explore the effects of EET to treat common tendinopathies.