Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Investigating sensory-motor interactions to shape rehabilitation
Author: Melendez-Calderon, Alejandro
ISNI:       0000 0004 2715 3218
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Over the last decades, robotic devices for neurorehabilitation have been developed with the aim of providing better and faster improvement of motor performance. These devices are being used to help patients repeat movements and (re)learn different dynamic tasks. Over the years, these devices have become bigger and more complex, so as to provide the end user with a more realistic and sophisticated stimuli while still allowing the experimenter to have control over the interaction forces that can potentially shape the motor behaviour. However, experimental results have shown no clear advantage of these complex devices over simpler versions. In this context, this thesis investigates sensory-motor processes of human interaction, which can help us understand the main issues for rehabilitation devices and how to overcome the limitations of simple devices to train particular motor behaviours. Conventional neurorehabilitation of motor function relies on haptic interaction between the patient and physiotherapist. However, how humans deal with human-human interactions is largely unknown, and has been little studied. In this regard, experiments of the first section of the thesis investigate the mechanisms of interaction during human-human collaborative tasks. It goes from identifying the different strategies that dyads can take to proposing methods to measure and understand redundancy and synchrony in haptic interactions. It also shows that one can shape the interaction between partners by modifying only the visual information provided to each agent. Learning a novel skill requires integration of different sensory modalities, in particular vision and proprioception. Hence, one can expect that learning will depend on the mechanical characteristics of the device. For instance, a device with limited degrees of freedom will reduce the amount of information about the environment, modify the dynamics of the task and prevent certain error-based corrections. To investigate this, the second section of the thesis examines whether the lack of proprioceptive feedback that is created due to mechanical constraints or haptic guidance can be substituted with visual information. Psychophysical experiments with healthy subjects and some preliminary experiments with stroke patients presented in this thesis support the idea that by incorporating task-relevant visual feedback into simple devices, one could deliver effective neurorehabilitation protocols. The contributions of the thesis are not limited to the role of visual feedback to shape motor behaviour, but also advance our understanding on the mechanisms of learning and human-human interaction.
Supervisor: Burdet, Etienne Sponsor: CONACYT (Mexico) ; EU (HUMOUR)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral