Rehabilitation Engineering

Rehabilitation Engineering is the application of science and technology to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities. It is the systematic application of engineering sciences to design, develop, adapt, test, evaluate, apply, and distribute technological solutions to problems confronted by individuals with disabilities. Rehabilitation engineers create methods and technologies to help patients regain cognitive and/or motor function. Some of these patients might have cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease, have suffered a stroke or head trauma, or be recovering from a spine injury.

Rehabilitation engineering encompasses a team of people assessing and responding to the needs of people with disabilities. It is the branch of biomedical engineering that is concerned with the application of science and technology to improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities.

Rehabilitation engineering is the use of engineering principles to provide technology solutions to problems confronted by people with disabilities. Rehabilitation engineers use devices and other materials to increase the functional capabilities of someone with a disability. These individuals may have experienced a spinal cord injury, brain trauma, or any other debilitating injury or disease (such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, West Nile, ALS, etc.). Rehabilitation engineering is the use of engineering principles to –

(1) develop technological solutions and devices to assist individuals with disabilities and

(2) aid the recovery of physical and cognitive functions lost because of disease or injury.

Rehabilitation engineering may involve relatively simple observations of how individuals perform tasks and making accommodations to eliminate further injuries and discomfort. Rehabilitation engineers are trained to introduce ergonomic solutions for individuals with disabilities in alignment with their qualifications to carry out mandatory duties and tasks. The rehabilitation engineering profession includes rehabilitation engineers, rehabilitation technologists, and rehabilitation technicians.

A rehabilitation engineer is a specialist who develops and/or modifies assistive technology devices tailored for independent needs in facilitating job performance requirements. Functional areas addressed through rehabilitation engineering may include mobility, communications, hearing, vision, and cognition, and activities associated with employment, independent living, education, and integration into the community. Rehabilitation engineers also improve upon standard rehabilitation methods to regain functions lost due to congenital disorders, disease (such as stroke or joint replacement), or injury (such as limb loss) to restore mobility. Improving web access is also a field of interest.


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