Call for Participation, 2-page proposals due by April 25, 2008:

CCC / CRA Roadmapping for Robotics Workshop:

A Research Roadmap for Medical and Healthcare Robotics

Allison Okamura, Johns Hopkins University
Maja Mataric', University of Southern California
Henrik Christensen, Georgia Tech

June 19-20, 2008
Arlington/Washington DC area
(All expenses for approved participants will be covered by CCC)

This one-and-a-half-day CCC/CRA sponsored workshop will (1) identify a focused set of major US research goals for medical and healthcare robotics, and (2) develop a roadmap for achieving these research goals in the coming decade. The workshop will include US leaders in academia, industry, and government. Although the US robotics research community is highly diversified, analogous efforts in Europe and Japan to reach consensus and develop unified research roadmaps for their regions have been extremely successful in creating new partnerships and attracting major research funding. Results of this workshop will be presented to US government agencies.

This workshop is one of four planned under the project: "From Internet to Robotics: The Next Transformative Technology", accepted by the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) with the goal of ensuring that basic research addresses the key problems that will allow American companies to have a leading role in the deployment of future generations of robots:


Recent demographic studies suggest that we will go through a period of significant population aging over the next 2-3 decades. Japan will see a doubling in the number of people over the age of 65, Europe will have a 50% increase, and the US will experience a ~40% increase in the number of elderly by 2030. The number of people with an age above 80 will increase by more than 100% across all continents. Advances in medicine have increased the life span and this, in combination with reduced birthrates, will result in an aging of society in general. This demographic trend will have a significant impact on industrial production, housing, continued education, and healthcare. Many of these aspects could be directly impacted through the use of intelligent robotics.

Robotics is already beginning to affect healthcare. Telerobotic systems such as the da Vinci surgical system are being used to perform surgery, resulting in shorter recovery times and more reliable outcomes in some procedures. The use of robotics as part of a computer-integrated surgery systems is clearly important for accurate, targeted medical interventions. It has been hypothesized that surgery and interventional radiology will be transformed through the integration of computers and robotics much in the way that manufacturing was revolutionized by automation several decades ago. Haptic devices, a form of robotics, are also relevant for simulations to train medical personnel.

The potential in rehabilitation is also great. The current rate of new strokes is 750,000 per year, and that number is expected to double in the next two decades. Stroke patients must engage in intensive and immediate rehabilitation in order to attempt to regain function and minimize permanent disability. However, there is already a shortage of suitable physical therapists, and the changing demographics indicate a yawning gap in care in the near future. Experiments have demonstrated that robotic systems can provide therapy oversight, coaching, and motivation with little or no supervision by human therapists, and can continue long-term therapy in the home after hospitalization.

On the younger side of the age spectrum, the number of neurodevelopmental and cognitive disorders is on the rise, including autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, and others. Autism rates alone have quadrupled in the last quarter century, with one in 150 children diagnosed with the deficit today. Socially assistive robots have already been shown to have promise as therapeutic tool for children with such disorders, by providing a means of communication and social skill training. Socially assistive robotics in general has the potential to improve quality of life measures for large and growing populations across the age spectrum.

Robotics can also be used to augment and stimulate basic science to understand human health. The ability to create a robotic system that mimics biology is one way to test and possibly demonstrate that we know how the human body and brain function. Robots can also be used to acquire data from biological systems with unprecedented accuracy. Finally, robots can be used for ideally calibrated behavioral experiments aiming to gain insights into both physical and social behaviors. These contributions can stimulate the development of new treatments for a wide variety of diseases and disorders.


In this highly focused meeting, brainstorming sessions will cover robotics for medical and healthcare applications and will identify (a) new application areas that will maximize socio-economic impact; (b) core competency areas for U.S. research and development; and (c) formulation of the roadmap.

Travel, meals, and lodging expenses for up to 30 approved participants will be reimbursed by the CCC.

We encourage interested experts from industry, government, and academia to submit a short proposal via email by April 25, 2008:

1) Name, affiliation, and contact info
2) 2-3 broad research ideas relevant to the workshop goals outlined above

Proposals must be under 2 pages in plain text or .pdf format. Please put "CCC Research Roadmap Proposal" on the subject line, and email to Selected applicants will be notified by May 15, 2008.

Due to funding limitations, we can accept only 30 participants. Anyone who submits a proposal will receive a copy of the final workshop report and info on how they might participate in the CCC robotics effort. This workshop is being held as part of a group of CCC robotics workshops examining the areas of manufacturing, service, healthcare, and emerging topics in robotics.