Georgia Tech Neuro Seminar Series

"Feasibility and Acceptability of Using Affordable Robots for Persons with Motor and/or Cognitive Impairments in Low-resource Settings"

Michelle Johnson, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor 
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
University of Pennsylvania

Robots in Medicine are here to stay. While their use in medicine and rehabilitation is increasing in high income countries, there is still a need to find ways to extend their utility to more diverse rehabilitation populations and into in more low resource settings both locally and globally.  This talk will discuss the efforts of my lab to develop affordable robot systems that can be used to assess and train motor and cognitive impaired individuals in low resource settings both in the USA and Botswana. I will discuss insights gained from deploying these systems to understand neurocognitive and neuromotor impairment in persons with stroke, with HIV and with both stroke and HIV. 

Michelle J. Johnson, Ph.D., is currently Associate professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pennsylvania.  She has secondary appointments as an Associate professor in Bioengineering and in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, with an emphasis in mechatronics, robotics, and design, from Stanford University.  She completed a NSF-NATO post-doctoral fellowship at the Advanced Robotics Technology and Systems Laboratory at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Italy.  She directs the Rehabilitation Robotic Research and Design Laboratory located at the Pennsylvania Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. The lab is also affiliated with the General Robotics Automation Sensing Perception (GRASP) Lab.  Dr. Johnson’s lab specializes in the design, development, and therapeutic use of novel, affordable, intelligent robotic assistants for rehabilitation in high and low-resource environments with an emphasis on using robotics and sensors to quantify upper limb motor function in adults and children with brain injury or at risk for brain injury.  Dr. Johnson has spent over twenty years applying technology solutions to aid in the understanding of disability and impairment after brain injury. She is currently a Fulbright Scholar for 2020-2022 to Botswana and an IEEE Engineering in Biology and Medicine Society Distinguished Lecturer 2021-2022. 

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