Welcome to Neuroscience Center Zurich

Prof. Dr. Roger Gassert


Inst. Robotics and Intelligent Systems

LEO B 9.1

Leonhardstrasse 27
8092 Zürich

Tel. +41 44 632 32 66

Main Goals, Keywords

Rehabilitation engineering, robot-assisted rehabilitation of hand function after stroke, MR-compatible robotics, sensorimotor interactions, motor learning, haptics, assistive technology.

Group Members

1 professor, 4 postdocs, 6 PhD students, 1 intern

Previous and Current Research

Stroke is one of the leading causes of adult disability: two thirds of patients survive the stroke, but approximately 80% of the survivors lose some ability to use their arm and/or hand, strongly limiting activities of daily living, such as eating, object manipulation, writing, etc. Our goal is to induce long lasting improvement in sensorimotor function by having patients perform systematic exercises adapted to their disability, using dedicated robotic interfaces. Combining such devices with functional neuroimaging modalities, we investigate the neural mechanisms of human motor control and related dysfunctions.

Our research focuses on the development and clinical evaluation of diagnostic, therapeutic and assistive tools in order to promote recovery, independence and social integration of the physically disabled. We are especially interested in hand function, and how haptic feedback can benefit motor learning, rehabilitation therapy, and human-machine interaction. To achieve these goals, we are using a combined approach of robotics, psychophysics and cognitive neuroscience and strongly collaborating with international teams in these disciplines.

Our work lead to the first fMRI-compatible haptic interfaces allowing safe and gentle interaction with human motion during functional MRI. These systems are now being used to investigate sensorimotor interactions and the effects of ageing and focal brain injury thereon with partners in Japan, the UK and Switzerland. Our group was also involved in the development and clinical evaluation of some of the first robotic devices dedicated to rehabilitation of hand function after stroke.

Future Projects

We will continue our efforts towards improving robotic rehabilitation therapy, making it available to a larger part of the stroke population, and applicable in a decentralized manner. We will further investigate the role of sensory feedback in motor learning and rehabilitation, and investigate haptics as a communication channel in assistive devices.

Techniques and Equipment

We have access to an electronics lab and a mechanical workshop with rapid prototyping facilities within the institute. Multi-axis load cells, sensors for various modalities, a mobile optical tracking system with wireless active markers, wireless EMG system, real-time control hardware as well as mechatronic components and related instruments for prototype development are available.

Selected Publications

Selected Lectures, Seminars or Colloquia

Rehabilitation Engineering


NCCR Neural Plasticity and Repair (Swiss National Science Foundation)



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