Many people suffer from impairments of physical structures or functions, where some are persistent, caused by accidents or other diseases such as stroke. Other impairments are reversible by nature (e.g. tendon-injuries and the like caused by accidents or post-operative). Such disorders and in succession also impairments of related body parts and the musculoskeletal system in general can lead to disability and have a severe impact on the affected persons regarding activities of daily living (ADL) in their private and working life, their social participation and consequently also their mental health can be impaired with diseases like depression.
Due to often high costs, in general, medical aids are not available or equally accessible for people at all levels of income. Costs is also one reason why the production of rehabilitation devices for home usage is not yet well established and available devices aim to be used by professionals (e.g. therapists) and therefore exhibit comparably high complexity in usage, application, adjustment and configuration. Another consequence is a low grade of individualization of assistive devices which is further also a social issue with respect to the resulting stigmatizing due to unaesthetic design, possibly leading to social exclusion.
Currently, effective rehabilitation requires thoroughly planned therapy sessions in an ambulatory setting or in a hospital together with a therapist supervising the trainings. These sessions are time consuming and cost-intensive and for people in rural areas there is often no facility within the next 30 – 40 km. Additionally, rehabilitation is most effective when done promptly after surgery or injury and performed with appropriate level of exercise and in a repetitive manner. However, this is often not possible due to the limited number of practicing therapists and facilities. Improper fit of the devices and resulting pain as well as a lack of intrinsic motivation will reduce the adherence of users and consequently also significantly reduce their therapy success with possibly persistent consequences for their future life.
The aforementioned needs consequently call for improved concepts in terms of design, fabrication, functionalization, status and progress monitoring through sensor-based feedback as well as individualization of rehabilitation devices and therapy robotics. Additionally, we think that novel concepts for at home usage and practicability and robustness of the target approaches need to be developed. Together with these novel concepts also strategies for accessible data processing and visualization need to be addressed in research and development.
We consequently address advancements addressing the aforementioned social and functional needs of devices. A special focus is on strategies to decide which physiological data should be acquired to sufficiently monitor and assess movement of patients and users and where is the specific benefit for the relevant stakeholders. We also especially encourage rehabilitation robotic and assistive devices suitable for at home usage.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to the following:
In this workshop, we consequently want to discuss with and bring together experts from interdisciplinary fields such as assistive devices, robotics, sensors as well as fabrication technologies and experts from participatory research and healthcare. We want to interactively discuss and foster the development of novel ideas and strategies to fill the aforementioned gaps of current technology and concepts. Submissions in the field of therapy as well as in user-centered-design and active assisted living are highly encouraged. The discussions will take place as Q&A Sessions following the individual presentations of the workshop papers.
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