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There is a wide variety of disability, rehabilitation, and other enabling research being conducted in the United States, Europe, and Asia to develop technologies for independent living.  Many such activities in the United States have been inspired by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and more recently by the New Freedom Initiative. As populations age, more people need such assistance, and there are substantial national initiatives abroad.

The present workshop will present the results of a study initiated by the VA, NIBIB and several programs at NSF. The purpose is to examine the worldwide status and trends in this field. The focus was on technologies for enhancing mobility and independent living.  Subtopics include the following:

  • Overview of the Need/Disabling Conditions:  MS, CP, stroke, SCI, arthritis, amputation, orthopedic injury, TBI, balance impairments, aging, cognitive impairment
  • Prostheses
  • Exoskeletons
  • Robot- and Computer-based Movement Training
  • Wheelchair technologies
  • Joint injury prevention and orthopedic implants
  • Functional electrical stimulation       
  • Control
  • Assistive robotics/smart homes
  • Fall prevention technology
As part of this study, a panel of U.S. experts in the field visited leading sites in Europe: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the UK during October 17-23, 2010 to assess progress in those countries.


About NSF
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2009, its budget is $9.5 billion, which includes $3.0 billion provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to over 1,900 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 44,400 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards.MORE


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