The annual RESNA conference was held in Pittsburgh, PA on June 20-24th, 1997. Once again, the Rehabilitation Robotics sector was well represented with numerous displays, demonstrations and platform sessions. One of the highlights of this year's conference was the day-long Research Symposium entitled "Robotics and People with Disabilities: When Will They Tango?"
The symposium involved prominent Rehabilitation Robotics researchers and a Manus robot user, as well as speakers from industry, and gave a good perspective on the state of the art and current trends in the field.
Throughout the conference, the need for user-centered design was emphasized. This will involve more user participation in early stages of the design, as well as basic research to provide a better understanding of human capabilities. Along these lines, research projects which include the use of robots for physical therapy (most notably after stroke) and as measurement tools in studies of human physiology and motor control as well as robots with cortical control interfaces were presented. On a philosophical note, a number of comments were made concerning the noticeable shift in focus of the field from providing users with single-use devices to providing them with more general-purpose tools for which they can determine the uses.
In conclusion, RESNA '97 was a useful and interesting forum for the presentation and discussion of Rehabilitation Robotics work and issues. The RESNA '98 conference will be held in Minneapolis next spring.--Wendy McEachern, Applied Science & Engineering Laboratories
URL of this document: http://www.asel.udel.edu/
Last updated: November 1997
Copyright © Applied Science and Engineering Laboratories, 1997.