IEEE RA-Letters special issue: Call for Papers

Intelligent Human-Robot Interaction for Rehabilitation and Physical Assistance

A Special Issue proposal by
S. F. Atashzar, M. Tavakoli, M. Shahbazi, and R. V. Patel

Topical Area

This special issue will aim to report recent developments in enhancing human-robot interaction in advanced intelligent robotic/telerobotic systems for motor rehabilitation and assistance. We aim to focus particularly on issues related to physical interaction between patients and robotic/mechatronic systems developed to deliver Neuro-Rehabilitation and Assistive (NRA) services. The special issue will cover a broad range of related subjects including but not limited to safety, control, modeling, signal processing, smart autonomy and instrumentation for advanced human-robot interaction in rehabilitation and assistive systems. Specific topics of interest are listed below:

  • Physical human-robot interaction for rehabilitation and assistance
  • Human-robot collaboration for rehabilitation and assistance
  • Control of human-centered robotic systems for rehabilitation and assistance
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence in robotic systems for rehabilitation and assistance
  • Autonomy in robotic systems for rehabilitation and assistance
  • In-home/remote robotic rehabilitation and assistance


The incidence rate of age-related neuromuscular disorders is rapidly increasing worldwide due to an aging society. While better medical care has increased survival rates, it has resulted in even more patients in need of NRA services. This has placed a significant burden on the healthcare systems worldwide and has challenged the quality of NRA services delivered to patients. The situation is particularly difficult for patients in remote areas.

A potential solution is to develop smart robotic and telerobotic technologies that provide safe and effective means of in-hospital and in-home NRA services. In this regard, robotic rehabilitation and assistance systems have been developed and have attracted a great deal of interest. Although there are advantages with the use of these technologies, there still exist several technical, technological and control challenges among which are (a) questionable compatibility with the sensorimotor needs of patients, (b) high cost, and (c) conservative assurances of patient-robot interaction safety. These issues are of particular concern when the robot is to be used in a patient’s home or in remote areas under minimal monitoring.

The special issue includes transdisciplinary research in engineering and applied sciences (e.g., human-robot interaction, nonlinear control, machine intelligence, instrumentation, compliant robots, bio-signal processing) and medical sciences (e.g., neurosciences, rehabilitation sciences, human-motor control and motor learning). The transdisciplinary nature of the work and the specific focus of the topic call for a focused and in-depth special issue that reports the latest progress in addressing the existing challenges and possible future lines of research. The focus of this transdisciplinary special issue is at the intersections of topics that regularly are the topic of conference workshops and journal special issues (e.g., haptics, telerobotics, human-robot interaction, rehabilitation robotics, and assistive technologies).


Special Issue Call Publication: 15 April 2018
Special Issue Submission Opens: 1 May​ ​2018
Special Issue Submission Closes: 15 July 2018
First Decision Communicated to Authors: 15 October 2018
Final Decision Communicated to Authors: 15 December 2018
Accepted RAL Papers appear on IEEE Xplore: 15 February ​2019 (tentative)

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