The Department of Biomedical Engineering at offers more than 5,000 square feet of research space in its Neurorehabilitation Engineering Research Center. This center serves research and development activities in neurorehabilitation, investigating optimal intervention strategies for movement therapy. R&D activities range from basic science (e.g., neuromuscular adaptive mechanisms) to the development and evaluation of innovative therapeutic intervention strategies. Integral to the FNERC are three laboratories run by Marquette biomedical engineering core faculty:
These labs offer force platforms, EMGs, motion tracking systems, robotic manipulators, a CyberGlove, telehealth technology, and numerous instruments and sensors for measuring and assessing human motor and sensory performance. Target populations are stroke and spinal cord injury and, to a lesser extent, cerebral palsy and autism.
We are also a member of the Midwest Rehabilitation Network (funded by a R24 grant from NIH, centered at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), which also focuses on neurorehabilitation.
The goal of this center is to evaluate methods and technologies to increase the usability and accessibility of diagnostic, therapeutic and procedural health care equipment for people with disabilities. Researchers work closely with consumers, health care practitioners, hospitals and manufacturers to increase access to and utilization of medical instrumentation and services by individuals with disabilities, including technologies that support employment in the health care professions. This RERC is one of 22 national RERC Centers of Excellence that are administered through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research of the U.S. Department of Education. It is the first to specifically address the critical need for new medical instrumentation technologies that move toward the ideal of a society where health care is universally accessible to all people.
The application of robots in the rehabilitation of the upper extremity as therapy is a relatively new application and research area in biomedical engineering — and one with potentially great impact on daily lives of impaired persons. Research studies with robot-assisted therapy environments have indicated that these environments are able to achieve significant reduction in motor impairment and provide objective functional assessment and intensive training in a semiautonomous environment.
Through the design, development and therapeutic use of novel, affordable, intelligent robotic/mechatronic and domotic assistants, this lab is focused on examining underlying causes of upper-limb impairment after neural disease, injury or cerebral accident, on discovering effective methods to retrain functional recovery on daily living activities, and on developing new ways of facilitating independent living in daily living environments. Equipment include: a 6-DOF robotic system (3 passive and 3 active degrees) called the HapticMaster from FCS Robotics; a Driver's SEAT, a 1 degree of freedom robotic device that incorporates a modified PC-based driving simulator to create simple and motivating steering tasks; and the Thera-Drive, a low-cost, commercially viable, home-based rehabilitation system that can capitalize on computer-assisted motivating rehabilitation concepts of game therapy and skill training with functional training related to real activity to induce user-dependent CNS plasticity.