The main problem SoftPro project aims to tackle is the scarce availability of robotics rehab technology and devices – in terms of their affordability, accessibility, robustness, usability, and ultimately usefulness. The main goal is to increase the cumulative benefits of assistive robotic technologies to our society, by enhancing at the same time their effectiveness and the number of people who will benefit from them.
Although much has been done for developing advanced technology to bear upon real problems of individuals with sensorimotor impairments, the current situation is still far from satisfactory. Recent research in rehab robotics has enriched the functionalities of rehabilitation, assistive and prosthetic devices. However, the impact on people with real needs in the real world is still very limited.
By developing effective and accessible technology, SoftPro expects to achieve three kinds of impact:
The improvement of the quality of life and participation of disabled people
Reduction of costs in healthcare
Higher self-reliance of disabled people in doing activities of daily living will decrease the required support by formal and informal caregivers. In turn, this will reduce the burden on these groups and on society as a whole.
Te SoftPro open technology will likely lead to the birth of new companies, including Spin-offs, and will strengthen existing companies by offering new market opportunities. The strong involvement of the clinical partners ensures a valid end-user orientated development and validation throughout this process.