Mike Van der Loos

Associate Professor and Associate Head, External and Industry Relations
PhD, Stanford University
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Mike Van der Loos, P.Eng, PhD, is Associate Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at the University of British Columbia, and faculty member in the Biomedical Engineering Graduate (BMEG) Program of UBC. He is an instructor primarily in design courses, notably the Capstone Design Project course for the MECH department and the "Engineers in Scrubs" graduate course in the BMEG program. He is Director of the RREACH Lab and Associate Director of the CARIS Lab, where he performs research in rehabilitation robotics, human-robot interaction, and issues related to design methodology and roboethics. He received a Diplôme d'Ingénieur from EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland (1978) and a PhD, Stanford University (1992) in human-robot interaction. He has 40 journal articles, 100 conference papers and 2 book chapters in these subjects.

Primary Recipient Awards

Wall Solutions, Mike Van der Loos, 2013

Mike Van der Loos
Wall Solutions

FEATHERS: Functional Engagement in Assisted Therapy through Exercise Robotics

Principal Investigator: Mike Van der Loos, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC

Partner Organization: Abilities Neurological Rehabilitation, BC Centre for Ability Association

We have assembled an integrated knowledge/technology/client team to develop a novel robot-based home therapy program for children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy and older persons post-stroke. Stroke rehabilitation professionals acknowledge that about half of upper limb functional recovery after stroke is spontaneous. Any remaining recovery results from intensive, repetitive therapy over months of time, stimulating neuroplastic changes in the brain's motor control pathways. This is painful, frustrating and hard work. Sustaining a treatment over months requires significant motivation and funding. Health plan coverage is insufficient; motivation is highly dependent on a person's support network and inner drive, and often not adequately tapped. High compliance with exercise regimens predicts significantly more functional return, yet lack of compliance is a problem for over half of recovering persons. Our project will combine low-cost robotic devices, a bimanual training program, social media frameworks such as Facebook Games, and on-line performance sharing between therapy clients and with their therapists. This represents a best-practices approach to bidirectional knowledge transfer, development of technology and design of well-coordinated home-based therapy. Together these approaches will yield interventions for people with stroke and children with hemiparetic cerebral palsy that significantly improve functional ability and quality of life.