Dr. Vaibhav Kanawade MD

The progress of medicine has been spectacular since 1990. At the leading edge of medical technology improvements come in small increments or quantum leaps. Robotics is an example of a giant step forward.

Dr. Vaibhav Kanawade Patil, is world’s first surgeon to establish the accuracy of robotic instrumentation for total hip replacement. He is Indias’ first orthopedic surgeon to stretch the limits of profession and venture in to the field of robotic physiotherapy and rehabilitation. While being super busy with his arthroplasty fellowship in Los Angeles, he managed to take time off to work as a volunteer in the Robotic Physical Therapy Division of Keck School of Medicine, USC. He worked to understand the basic functions, mechanisms, applications and final outcomes of various robotic physiotherapy and rehabilitation devices. He was also involved in various projects for designing of rehab robots. His preliminary experience with robotic assisted rehabilitation makes him firmly believe that machines do have a very significant role in early and full functional recovery.

The key to successful treatment depends good physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Outcomes seem to be strongly associated with degree of motivation (goals) and engagement of patient. Robotic devices provide safe, intensive and task-oriented rehabilitation.

They not only assist in repetitive stereotyped movements but help to generate complex controlled multisensory stimulations. In principle, robots offer advantages such as:

i) precisely controllable assistance or resistance during movements.

ii) good repeatability.

iii) objective and quantifiable measures of subject performance.

iv) increased training motivation through the use of interactive (bio)feedback.

In addition, this approach reduces the amount of physical assistance reducing health care costs and provides kinematic and kinetic data in order to control and quantify the intensity of practice, measure changes and assess motor impairments with better sensitivity and reliability than standard clinical scales. Because of robotic rehabilitation is intensive, repetitive and task-oriented, it is generally in accordance with the motor re-learning program.

Our research is aimed at endowing robots with the ability to help people, especially those with special needs. We are inspired by the dual goals of

1) gaining novel insights into human behavior and cognition through human-machine interaction and

2) developing robotic systems capable of providing personalized assistance in convalescence, rehabilitation, skill training.