Promoting clinical best practice in a user-centred design study of an upper limb rehabilitation robot Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose: Despite their promise to increase therapy intensity in neurorehabilitation, robotic devices have not yet seen mainstream adoption. Whilst there are a number of contributing factors, it is obvious that the treating clinician should have a clear understanding of the objectives and limitations of robotic device use. This study sought to explore how devices can be developed to support a clinician in providing clinical best practice.Methods and Materials: A user-centred design study of a robotic device was conducted, involving build-then-use iterations, where successive iterations are built based on feedback from the use cycle. This work reports results of an analysis of qualitative and quantitative data describing the use of the robotic device in the clinical sessions, and from a focus group with the treating clinicians.Results and Conclusions: The data indicated that use of the device did not result in patient goal-setting and may have resulted in poor movement quality. Therapists expected a higher level of autonomy from the robotic device, and this may have contributed to the above problems. These problems can and should be addressed through modification of both the study design and device to provide more explicit instructions to promote clinical best practice.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONEncouraging clinical best practice when using evaluating prototype devices within a clinical setting is important to ensure that best practice is maintained - and can be achieved through both study and device designSupport from device developers can significantly improve the confidence of therapists during the use of that device in rehabilitation, particularly with new or prototype devicesEnd effector-based robotic devices for rehabilitation show potential for a wide variety of patient presentations and capabilities.


  • Fong, Justin
  • Crocher, Vincent
  • Klaic, Marlena
  • Davies, Katie
  • Rowse, Andrew
  • Sutton, Emma
  • Tan, Ying
  • Oetomo, Denny
  • Brock, Kim
  • Galea, Mary P

publication date

  • January 1, 2020