Laura Marchal Crespo receives Vidi

News - 14 July 2021 - Webredactie 3mE

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded two TU Delft researchers a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros. From the 3mE faculty Laura Marchal Crespo, researcher at the department of Cognitive Robotics (CoR), was honoured with an award. Marchal Crespo’s research focuses on robotic systems to maximize post-stroke recovery.

Hyperrealistic robotic systems to maximize post-stroke recovery

Robotic rehabilitation is promising, but still artificial and therefore ineffective: abstract task environments limit stroke survivors in relearning functional movements. Laura Marchal Crespo will reveal the processes that govern maximal individual recovery, incorporating insights into a hyper-realistic multisensory training system that provides patients with personalized lifelike interactions with tangible virtual objects.

Breakthrough solution

As we do not expect people to learn how to ride a bike on a static bike or learn how to swim outside the water, how can we expect brain-injured patients to relearn functional movements if we do not allow them to see and feel the interaction with realistic highly dynamic environments? Laura Marchal Crespo’s driven by the desire to reveal the underlying principles that promote neuroplasticity and exploit these principles to design more efficient personalized robot-aided neurorehabilitation regimes. The uniqueness of her breakthrough solution is that it will be the worldwide first robotic system able to provide affordable hyper-realistic sensorimotor training that allows for a trustworthy user-friendly therapy personalization. This solution will broader the possibilities of using robots in the clinic, as it could be used in patients with a large range of disability levels and different stages of recovery. Marchal Crespo’s research program can, therefore, have a profound long-term societal impact. Besides, she expects her research to unlock different applications in movement training, for example in sports engineering.

Laura Marchal Crespo: “I am beyond happy and proud about this accomplishment. Submitting a VIDI has been a long and hard journey that pays off now. I am especially grateful for the unconditional support of my colleagues from CoR and TU Delft during this process."

About VIDI

Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining their PhDs. Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Programme. Researchers in the Talent Programme are free to submit their own subject for funding. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.