Dr. Khajepour and the Mechatronic Vehicle Systems Lab team
Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Lightening the load: innovations in mobility tech for health-care workers

A research team led by Dr. Amir Khajepour, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and head of the Mechatronic Vehicle Systems (MVS) Lab, has developed new ways to lighten the load for overburdened hospital workers, literally.

It’s no secret that health-care is physically demanding work, with workers transferring patients on heavy beds, and carrying equipment. That's why Khajepour and his team envision a future where health-care workers are assisted by robotic muscle and artificial intelligence to reduce the physical strain on humans and reduce health-care mistakes that can be associated with physical exhaustion.

“We are working to improve mobility, especially in the health-care system, by making it easier and safer to move people and equipment.” 

Canada’s Department of Employment and Development has stated that Canada’s health-care workers have experienced “unprecedented levels of burnout, absences, and turnover” in recent years, resulting in long wait times for surgeries and emergency room closures.

Khajepour knows that the assisted mobility technologies he and his team are developing will help reverse these worrying trends. The team’s research, supported by Mitacs, Rogers, and NSERC, hopes to deploy the first 5G-enabled outdoor and indoor mobility fleet system to combat these trends.

Similar to how an e-bike assists a rider, the hospital carts and beds the team is developing will do the heavy work, requiring only a light touch from the worker.

Read Taking a load off health-care workers for the whole story.