Ottobock develops “wearable human bionics” – medical technology products for people with limited mobility in the fields of Prosthetics, Orthotics and Human Mobility (wheelchairs). The company, founded in 1919, also treats patients in its Patient Care division. Ottobock's mission: Enhancing the quality of life and health economic benefits of those they serve. With the Paexo exoskeletons, Ottobock has transferred its expertise in biomechanics to applications for industry as well since 2012. Subsidiaries in 59 countries offer “Made in Germany” quality worldwide and employ more than 7,000 people. The international activities of the company are coordinated from the head office in Duderstadt, Germany. Ottobock has been supporting the Paralympic Games with technical expertise since 1988.
The University of Twente (UT) is a public research university located in Enschede, The Netherlands. It was founded in 1961 and hosts currently over 10,000 students and 2,700 staff members. The UT offers degrees in the fields of both social and technical sciences. The UT is committed to making economic and social contributions to society. Therefore, the entrepreneurial spirit forms one of the core values of the institution. Researchers of the UT collaborate closely with many national and international universities. The UT is ranked 65th in the 2017 European Most Innovative University Reuters ranking, and ranked 179th in the QS ranking 2018. Currently the UT participates in over 100 H2020 projects, of which 20 MSCA ones. The UT’s department participating in this proposal is the Department of Biomechanical Engineering, which has worldleading expertise in human motor control, ergonomics, biomechanics and design of biomechatronic orthotic and prosthetic systems for supporting and training the human motor system. These biomechatronic systems are developed and clinically evaluated in healthy individuals as well as in patients with stroke, spinal cord injury and amputation in close collaboration with national and international industries and leading rehabilitation departments. Several designs have resulted in spin-off companies like Gable Systems or are in a far stage of development through collaboration with companies, like the admittance-controlled gait training robot LOPES.
AAU is a dynamic and innovative research and educational institution oriented towards the surrounding world. The majority of ranking lists name Aalborg University, and AAU is presently in the top 3% of the world's 18,000 universities. According to Shanghai/ARWU World Rank, AAU is no. 7 in the world within the field of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Aalborg University’s study method, The AAU Model for Problem Based Learning (PBL) is highly respected both nationally and internationally. According to the 2018 MIT report, AAU is considered to have the best engineering programme in Europe, a programme that takes fourth place in the world. The Department of Health Science and Technology (HST) at AAU constitutes Denmark's largest integrated health technology research and teaching environment. The research topics are diverse and include biomechanics and motor control systems, medical informatics systems, pharma technology, pre-clinical research, public health, rehabilitation technology, sports science, telemedicine, pain research and welfare technology. The present project will be developed at SMI, Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction, which is the largest research centre at HST. SMI is an international research and training centre employing approximately 80 researchers, with 50% of the staff coming from abroad. Translational research in neuroscience and engineering is the primary focus of SMI. The aim is to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic methods in the areas of pain, motor control, and rehabilitation. The established research co-operation and partnerships with a wide range of research centres, hospitals, and companies constitute a substantial resource for SMI®. Currently, co-operation includes more than 40 organisations in 15 countries and 20 national and international companies.
Roessingh Research and Development (RRD) is the largest scientific research center in the Netherlands that focuses on telemedicine and rehabilitation technology. It is a private research institute with strong and formalized links with the University of Twente and Roessingh, Center for Rehabilitation in Enschede, the Netherlands. Its mission is to generate innovations in rehabilitation through top class academic research. Research within RRD is organized in two research clusters: Rehabilitation Technology and Telemedicine. RRD projects are financed by various recourses including funding by the European Commission, national funding from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and from health care departments. The research mission if to bridge the gap between technologically oriented scientific research and daily practice in rehabilitation. This is achieved through development and evaluation of new technology, in close collaborations with universities, research institutes and companies. The research cluster Rehabilitation Technology is involved in projects that mainly focus on individuals with a physical impairment, particularly stroke survivors and individuals with a spinal cord injury or an amputation. The approach of the Rehabilitation Technology cluster is based on knowledge of the neurological and/or musculoskeletal background of disorders and corresponding mechanisms of recovery.
Herman van der Kooij is a professor in Biomechatronics and Rehabilitation Technology at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the University of Twente (0.8fte), where he also chairs the BioMechatronics group, and he is a professor at Delft University of Technology (0.2fte).
His research focuses on the field of human balance and motor control, adaptation, and learning. He combines neuro-mechanical models in the evaluation of mechanisms of balance and motor control and utilizes this knowledge in the improvement of rehabilitation devices, wearable robots, diagnostic and assistive robotics.
Strahinja Dosen is an Associate Professor at the Department of Health Science and Technology at Aalborg University in Denmark.
His research focuses on the development of rehabilitation methods and technologies related to functional electrical stimulation, exoskeletons and prosthetics, with a particular interest in closed-loop human-machine interfacing, where robust control strategies are combined with artificial sensory feedback to the user.
Massimo Sartori is an Associate Professor at the University of Twente where he directs the Neuromechanical Modelling & Engineering Lab.
His research focuses on integrating neuromuscular system models to the interface between users and wearable robotic technologies for enhancing human movement. He is interested in understanding the neuro-musculoskeletal mechanisms underlying human movement and how these are altered by impairment. He applies neuro-mechanical modeling and electrophysiological signal processing, in a translational way, to develop real-time model-based control technologies for restoring natural motor function and for enhancing human health.
Jose Gonzalez-Vargas is the Head of the Research Hub Germany (Global Research), Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA in Germany.
His research focuses on the development of human-machine interfaces, robotics and neuro-rehabilitation devices. In his past he has designed robotic systems, embedded electronics and control algorithms (e.g. development of a bio-inspired control scheme of an elastic actuator using “Feedback Error Learning”). He has experience working on several research and industry related projects, in a variety of countries.
Hans Rietman is a physiatrist and professor in Rehabilitation Medicine & Technology at the University of Twente. He performs his clinical work as a rehabilitation physician at Roessingh Center for Rehabilitation. He is also appointed at the research institute Roessingh Research and Development.
His research focuses on the clinical use of technology in restoration of functions in patients with neurological disorders and patients with amputations of upper and lower extremities. He is actively involved in a diversity of (inter-) national projects focusing on Rehabilitation Robotics and Active Assistive Devices.
The Early Stage Researchers "ESRs"
SimBionics aims to train future professionals to have the capacity of developing successful
innovations in the field of assistive and rehabilitation technologies. It combines key
entrepreneurial and technological skills, providing ESRs with the
necessary cross-sector mindset to bring cutting-edge scientific achievements to the market.
Federica will work on the development of an accurate neuro-mechanistic model of the lower limb to mimic the activation of biological joints in order to control lower-limb prosthetics. The model will include neuromuscular primitives and reflexes to stabilize amputees’ motion and posture.
She is enrolled as a Ph.D. candidate at the Biomechanical Engineering Department of the University of Twente , co-supervised by Pr. Massimo Sartori, Pr. Herman van der Kooij and Dr. Jose González-Vargas from Ottobock, where she will work as guest researcher.
Federica has a master’s degree in Biomechanics and Biomaterials awarded from the Politecnico of Milan in Italy.
Lucas will be working on the integration of balance models and control to gait controllers of prosthetic legs. He is enrolled as a Ph.D. candidate at the Biomechanical Engineering Department of the University of Twente and he is a guest researcher at Ottobock. He is supervised by Pr. Herman van der Kooij, Pr. Massimo Sartori, and Dr. Jose González-Vargas.
Lucas has a master's degree in Control Engineering from the School of Green Transportation at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Romain will focus on developing non-invasive artificial sensory feedback interfaces for lower-limb prosthetic users, and learn how to transfer those ideas into successful products. He is enrolled in AAU and Ottobock, co-supervised by Pr. Strahinja Dosen and Dr. Jose González-Vargas.
Romain has a master's degree in Human Movement Sciences and a master's degree in Biomedical Engineering both obtained from the University of Montpellier in France.
Sabina’s work will focus on developing a quantitative and qualitative approach to assess differences between lower limb prostheses. This approach will consider functional, psychological as well as cognitive effects the devices may have on the patients. She is enrolled as an industrial Ph.D. student at Aalborg University in collaboration with Ottobock and under supervision of Strahinja Dosen and Jose Gonzalez.
Sabina has a master’s degree in Kinesiology with specialization in biomechanics from the University of Calgary in Canada.