Peoria, IL,
12:17 PM

OSF HealthCare team creates pediatric rehab robot

Project aims to make physical therapy more fun for children


A challenge many physical therapists face is keeping their patients motivated to continue therapy once they’ve been released from care. A team made up of engineers and clinicians from OSF HealthCare and a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign doctoral student are working on a project to better engage patients as they go through rehabilitation. They are targeting children who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Children who sustain traumatic brain injuries can experience a number of significant physical, motor, cognitive and behavioral impairments that require clinical rehabilitation programs to aid in recovery. Shrey Pareek is a Ph.D. student in Systems Engineering from UIUC. He’s leading the Pediatric Neurology Project team that’s creating a robotic rehab system that provides physical feedback and incorporates gaming to help children relearn critical motor skills.


You can actually think about it as the old Karate Kid movie where he was supposed to wax on, wax off and that was training for him eventually. But in that movie, the training was boring. We are doing it a little different; we want the training to be interesting in the form of a game and have some rehabilitation as you go.
Shrey Pareek, Ph.D. student in Systems Engineering at UIUC

Pareek says studies show that patients recover faster when they are engaged in their therapy. Using a robot for exercises will also allow physical therapists to record and evaluate patient performance and progress across different therapy sessions. The rehab system could also be modified to allow for home use.

The project is one of many taking place at Jump Simulation, an OSF HealthCare facility, demonstrating the value of engineers and clinicians working together to create new technologies that will help overcome disabilities, facilitate recovery from injury and illness and more fully address patient needs. The PNC Foundation recently awarded a $25,000 grant to the Pediatric Neurology Project team to continue its work.

“PNC applauds the efforts by Jump Simulation, its partners and their multiple initiatives,” said Doug Stewart, PNC regional president for central Illinois. “Supporting this effort is one of the ways PNC reinforces its commitment to the health of our children and the quality of life of our communities.”

The PNC grant will help the Pediatric Neurology Project team trial the system and collect data around its use. Additional donations can be made through the OSF Foundation at

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