Center Overview

The overarching objective of this RERC is to Optimize Participation Through Technology (OPTT). OPTT-RERC ( will enhance the lives of individuals aging with and into disability through: a) development and delivery of cutting-edge technologies for identification, evaluation, and rehabilitation of motor processes that facilitate or impede functional performance, employment, and community participation for the intended beneficiaries, b) employment of state of the art data management, dissemination, and performance evaluation techniques to ensure that the knowledge and products emergent from the RERC are accessible for all intended beneficiaries, c) assembly of a multidisciplinary team of experts in clinical rehabilitation, engineering, gerontology, along with a select group of technology partners, and disability advocates to ensure that OPTT-RERC's short and long-term outcome goals are successfully implemented and, d) alignment of the clinical and technological strengths of several area programs into an integrated infrastructure to provide training opportunities for future rehabilitation researchers. OPTT-RERC encompasses four technology domains across four primary project areas composed of a combination of research (R) and development (D) activities. One cross-cutting technology domain has application to several project areas. Each of the proposed RERC projects will address the needs of individuals aging with and/or into disability using innovative and integrated approaches as part of the synergistic partnership between the rehabilitation, engineering, and clinical research expertise at the University of Southern California's Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, the Viterbi School of Engineering, Information Sciences Institute, Institute for Creative Technologies, Rossier School of Education, Davis School of Gerontology, Keck School of Medicine, and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. The Dexterous Manipulation with the Fingertips Project will evaluate a clinically useful metric and rehabilitation strategy for dynamic multifinger dexterity (R1) and in collaboration with the second project area, develop a home-use gaming system to promote retention and improvement of dexterous manipulation via immersion technologies (D1). The Virtual Reality (VR) and Gaming for Home-Based Motor Assessment and Training Project will develop low cost, home-based VR toolkits (VRT) for motor assessment and rehabilitation (D2) and investigate the efficacy of the VRT games for use in both the clinic setting and the home for individuals aging with and into disability (R2). The Optimizing Mobility in the Home and Community for Manual Wheelchair Users Project will identify optimal transfer and lifting mechanics to preserve the shoulder complex (R3) and use VRT games for targeted and progressive shoulder exercise while sitting in a wheelchair (D3). The Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) for Mobility will use implantable wireless micro-stimulators to prevent recurrences of debilitating pressure ulcers in the middle age and older individuals with disability (D4). Through a multidisciplinary synergy, OPTT-RERC will make use of advanced technologies for functional and meaningful rehabilitation to promote successful aging with and into disability.