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UWM Engineer awarded grant to build 'smart' robotic assistive arm

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 17:42:15-04

MILWAUKEE  — An associate professor in the College of Engineering & Applied Science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was awarded a grant to build an assistive robotic arm.

Mohammad “Habib” Rahman is an expert in bio-robotics, including human-assist robots, medical robots and exoskeleton robots for rehabilitation and motion assistance. He was awarded a three-year, $1.49 million grant for research on this robotic arm that would allow users to perform essential activities for independence like feeding themselves and picking things up.

Rahman previously designed two wearable upper-extremity exoskeleton robots for rehabilitation and a powered glove for hand and finger rehabilitation. In this latest project, he is developing an exoskeleton assistive arm, equipped with a set of grippers, that can be mounted on wheelchairs or other bases.

Unlike other physical therapy devices, exoskeleton robots incorporate sensors, motors and artificial intelligence designed to help patients regain much of their former abilities.

Rahman said making exoskeleton robotic devices such as this one is more affordable and portable for patients and would help adhere to their physical therapy and recovery.

The project is being funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. It is an extension of Rahman’s participation in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps program, which helps faculty and graduate students explore commercial markets for their academic research.

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