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Are robots the better therapists?

Professor Robert Riener will discuss how new robotic devices are helping people with impairments of the lower extremities restore gait function.

  • 11 May 2022, 11.00am to 11 May 2022, 1.00pm BST (GMT +01:00)
  • This is an online event.

This event will be hosted on Zoom. You can access the webinar on the day by visiting and using the following details:

  • Zoom ID: 946 1509 7969
  • Zoom passcode: 226105


Robots can be very useful to restore gait function in people with impairments of the lower extremities. They can be used as therapy devices to promote neurorehabilitation after neurological injuries. These include spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury, and even the early acute phase of a stroke, when patients are still sedated and bedridden. Robots can also be used as assistive devices to support patients or older persons with muscular weaknesses in daily life situations.

In this talk, Professor Robert Riener will present new robotic devices that can support the therapy, training, and assistance of people with gait impairments. The robots are capable to treat the patients even during sleep, or engage and motivate them when awake, to make the rehabilitation process more effective, efficient, and faster. But are robot more effective and efficient than human therapists? Do the world's best robots already outperform the human at all?

Speaker profile

Professor Robert Riener studied Mechanical Engineering at TU München, Germany, and University of Maryland, USA. He received a Dr.-Ing. degree in Engineering from the TU München in 1997. After postdoctoral work from 1998-1999 at the Centro di Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, he returned to TU München, where he completed his Habilitation in the field of Biomechatronics in 2003.

In 2003 he became assistant professor at ETH Zurich and Spinal Cord Injury Center of the University Hospital Balgrist (“double-professorship”). Since 2010 he has been full professor for Sensory-Motor Systems, ETH Zurich, and since 2016 full professor of medicine at the University of Zurich.

Robert has published more than 500 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles, 36 books and book chapters and filed 26 patents. He has received 26 personal distinctions and awards. Robert is the initiator and organiser of the Cybathlon, which was honoured with the European Excellence Award, the Yahoo Sports Technology Award, and with two categories of the REIMAGINE Education Award.

In 2018, Robert obtained the honorary doctoral degree from the University of Basel. In 2019, he became an AAAS Leshner Fellow.

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