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FSU researchers helping electric-wheelchair users move more easily
Date:1/3/2011

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The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center saw the promise in this collaboration and has provided funding and guidance for the researchers to pursue their ideas together. The partnership joins CISCOR, which has worked extensively with control and guidance of autonomous vehicles, with the University of Pittsburgh's Human Engineering Research Laboratories. The latter group has developed several assistive technologies already in use by wheelchair manufacturers and rehabilitation hospitals nationwide.

The partnership began when Collins heard a presentation by Professor Rory Cooper, director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories and chairman of Pitt's rehabilitation science and technology department. Cooper has used a wheelchair since receiving a spinal cord injury in 1980 during his service in the Army. He won a bronze medal in the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul and has been recognized nationally for his research and leadership efforts to aid veterans and others with spinal cord injuries.

In his presentation, Cooper mentioned the need for terrain-dependent, electric-powered wheelchair assistance. Collins approached him about working together, and the two of them began developing ideas with other collaborators at the National Science Foundation-sponsored Quality of Life Technology Center, an engineering research center affiliated with the Human Engineering Research Laboratories that Cooper co-directs.

Cooper also is the founding director and a senior research scientist of the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence in Pittsburgh. His laboratory has been collaborating with the Veterans Administration for 15 years, and with the military since 2004, to develop robotic and other advanced assistive technologies. Cooper noted that the lab has a very good relationship with the orthopedic and rehabilitation departments of Walter Reed
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Contact: Emmanuel G. Collins
ecollings@eng.fsu.edu
850-410-6373
Florida State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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