Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering

Participant walks with crutches, leaving his walker and wheelchair behind

Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research

Taking Steps Toward Recovery

We enhance quality of life for individuals with motor disabilities through translational research and the development of assistive technology that improves mobility and motor function and enhances their ability to participate in school, work, and community activities.  

participant in research study about balance with an eeg cap on

Restoring Mobility through Gait and Balance Training

Restoring balance and mobility is an important first step toward recovery for individuals with disabilities caused by spinal cord injury, stroke, cerebral palsy, arthritis and brain injury. Our scientists apply new technologies that advance rehabilitative care, including robotics, functional electrical stimulation, virtual reality, and the unique research capabilities of the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation.

Moving Robotics into Clinical Care

Our scientists have conducted pioneering research in different types of wearable robotics, including the Ekso GT, ReWalk, and Indego. The focus of their robotics research extends beyond restoring mobility to the impact on common complications that affect quality of life, including bone loss, muscle weakness, loss of bowel and bladder function, chronic pain, and sexual dysfunction.

Join a Robotics Study

Participant in Ekso suit with Dr standing near by

Healing Children with TBI Through Technology

Our research shows that robotic exoskeleton training has the potential for tremendous impact on walking ability, community participation, and quality of life for individuals with brain injury. In a study of adolescents and young adults, participants train in the robotic exoskeleton and wear a Fitbit to record their daily activities. Scientists evaluate the brain changes that occur during motor recovery using a portable, noninvasive technology called fNIRS (functional near infrared spectroscopy). Understanding the changes in brain activity after injury and during recovery helps us design more effective rehabilitation protocols.

Demonstrating Efficacy of Rehabilitation Interventions

During her visit to the Foundation, New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy witnessed the impact of Kessler Foundation's research first hand. She received a demonstration of the efficacy of several rehabilitation interventions including spacial neglect and an exoskeleton worn by Natalie B., a young woman with paralysis caused by traumatic spinal cord injury.

Kessler Foundation team at a Research Center

Tammy Murphy, First Lady of New Jersey, visits Kessler Foundation's Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center. Pictured left to right: Rodger DeRose, President and CEO, Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, Tammy Murphy, John DeLuca, PhD, Peggy Chen, PhD, Gail Forrest, PhD, and Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD.

Woman wearing prism adaptation glasses for stroke

Tammy Murphy tries on prism adaptation glasses used for spatial neglect after stroke.


Woman wearing a robotic machine to walk

Tammy Murphy watches as Natalie B., a research participant who has sustained a spinal cord injury, walks in our robotic exoskeleton.

Woman wearing a robotic machine to walk

Natalie B. demonstrates Kessler Foundation's robotic exoskeleton at Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center.



kf logo icons

Engineering Innovative Solutions

Being active in the community requires adaptability. To prepare individuals for navigating different types of environments, scientists are testing a virtual reality-based treadmill called the C-Mill, which simulates conditions encountered in daily life. By incorporating mobile technologies such as wireless EEG, researchers are deepening their knowledge of the brain signals that control walking, and developing targeted treatments for improving balance, gait, and cognitive function.

Ghaith Androwis, PhD, customizes assistive devices for wheelchair users with a 3D printer

Improving Mobility for Children with Disabilities

Finding solutions for improving mobility for children with disabilities requires a tailored approach to rehabilitation research. In collaboration with Children’s Specialized Hospital, researchers are testing ways to use 3D printing to customize assistive devices, and studying ways to minimize physical stress for young wheelchair users, enabling them to engage safely in school and community life.  


Audio Description

PODCAST: Gail Forrest, PhD a panelist at Kessler Foundations' REBUILDING FUTURES FOR OUR NATION’S HEROES: Innovations in Research and Employment for Veterans shares her ideas on developing innovative interventions to improve outcomes for people with spinal cord injury.

Audio Description

PODCAST: Karen J. Nolan, PhD, discusses robotic exoskeleton technology for gait rehabilitation post stroke.

Audio Description

PODCAST: Gail Forrest, PhD, and Karen J. Nolan, PhD, discuss powered robotic exoskeleton research.

VIDEO: Watch as one man living with paralysis pushes his manual wheelchair, stops, holds crutches, and suddenly stands as robotics enable him to take steps. He is wearing a robotic, battery-powered exoskeleton. But what matters most is that this man can now walk. The impossible no longer exists.

VIDEO: Monitored by scientists at Kessler Foundation, six people with spinal cord injuries tested Ekso, the new robotic exoskeleton that enables wheelchair users to stand and walk.

VIDEO: In this TedxHerndon talk, Karen J. Nolan, PhD, discusses the use of robotics for stroke rehabilitation, explaining how to re-train the body's biomechanics.

Teenager with a robotic walking device on him surrounding his body

You Make a Brighter Future for Tyler

After Tyler Brown sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI), doctors weren’t sure if he was going to make it. But after receiving physical therapy and the latest robotic exoskeleton technology as part of a Kessler Foundation research study, Tyler proved them wrong.

By walking in the Ekso by Ekso Bionics, he gained strength and improved his balance —moving from a wheelchair to walking completely on his own.

Tyler, who has come further than ever imagined, dreams of becoming a physical therapist thanks to donors like you.

Woman with a exoskeleton mechanism that enables her to walk.

Join a Research Study Today

Join a Research Study Form

Volunteers are the heart of our research. Provide your information below to join our secure participant database. You will hear from our recruitment team about research study opportunities.

Volunteers Are the Heart of Our Research

Provide your information below to hear from our recruitment team about research studies for which you may be eligible.

Don't want to wait? You can create your own profile in our database.

Create Profile

Join a Research Study

Please complete the form and someone will reach out to you.