Human Centered Mechatronics Laboratory
This is funded project by Science & Technology Development Fund (STDF), Ministry of Scientific Research. This project is intended to establish a Laboratory for “Human Centered Mechatronics” at Ain Shams University to be the first interdisciplinary research Lab targets “translational research” in Egypt. This research Lab applies the findings from basic science, mechatronic, and state-of-the-art trends in rehabilitation and assistive technologies to enhance human health and well-being. This interdisciplinary research Lab will be setup in collaboration between academic staff from Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Medicine from different departments aiming to design and develop integrated solutions to support patients and rehabilitate people with disabilities, special needs and motor impairment and translate these solutions into medical practice. These solutions will be developed using the state-of-the-art technologies and mechatronic design approaches to overcome the current limitations with traditional approaches in rehabilitation and assistive devices. The approach of using mechatronics to enhance human functionality, mobility and compensate or restore the loss of human physiological functions is known as biomechatronics. Our research Lab is applying the concept of biomechatronic by synergistically integrating biology with the components to offer new generations of rehabilitation and assistive technologies.
In terms of national relevance, this Lab will present new assistive and rehabilitation solutions for approximately 10 million disabled in Egypt. The elderly population even the most fit may suffer from balance problems, delayed reflexes and muscle weakness leading to increased risk of falls. According to statistics, nearly 200 thousand Egyptians fall victim to a stroke annually and more than 500 thousand suffers from either upper and lower limb amputations. Stroke, amputations and other motor impairment cause complications to the patients which limit their movements and functionality and make them dependent on a caregiver or at least need some assistance. This constitutes a considerable indirect cost of disability in the form of caregiver absence from work, depression and caregiver stress treatment. This proposed Lab targets to study the disabled and patients’ needs and identify the current technology limitations through data collection from both able-bodied (healthy) and disabled subjects or patients to develop biomechanical models which will be used for simulation guided design. This simulation-based design approach helps us to understand the deficiencies and then provide innovative and smart solutions to rehabilitate, improve, or restore the lost functions and improve the human quality of life. The Lab will have the facilities to capture real-data from subjects using motion capture systems, analysis and build models using powerful PC workstations and artificial intelligent developing kits, develop prototypes using 3d printers and scanners, and clinical testing.
The major focus areas of research in the proposed Lab will be: biomechanics simulation-based design, microprocessor-based rehabilitation, smart wearable sensors, lower and upper limb prostheses, smart exoskeletons and orthoses, game-based rehabilitation robots, virtual reality (VR) rehabilitation and assistive mechatronic devices. Finally, the Lab’s target is to have significant contribution in the area of rehabilitation technology and to be internationally recognized through developing prototypes that can be industrialized, publications, organizing national and international workshops in the area of rehabilitation technologies, and through building national and international collaborations centered on shared research and innovation challenges.