ETH Zurich has established a new Chair of Rehabilitation Engineering with the appointment of Professor Roger Gassert to the position. The chair is affiliated to the Department of Health Sciences and Technology and will be financially supported over the coming decade with a donation of CHF 1 million from the Zurich-based company Hocoma.

Roger Gassert has served as Assistant Professor of Biomedical Robotics and Neuroscience since 2008. At the request of the ETH President, he was recently elected by the ETH Council as Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Engineering. Gassert develops mechatronic systems that investigate the neuromechanical generation of movement and support people with disabilities. He is also turning his attention towards sensor-based rehabilitation, and uses this multidisciplinary approach to span the bridge between basic research-oriented neuro- and movement sciences, application-oriented engineering and clinics in the field of assistive technologies. “The professorship of Roger Gassert aims to develop the local knowledge and business hub and strengthen ETH Zurich’s interests in this field, which focusses on eliminating neuromechanical movement disorders,” says ETH President Ralph Eichler.

The Department of Health Sciences and Technology (D-HEST) at ETH Zurich and Hocoma have enjoyed a close, successful research collaboration for more than 15 years. The arm therapy robot manufactured by Hocoma, one of its main products, is a result of this partnership. The company is now supporting the new professorship in the form of a donation to the ETH Zurich Foundation.

“Hocoma considers the development of this promising area of research to be extremely important. By providing financial backing for this chair, we aim to not only further the development of, for example, innovations in sensor-based rehabilitation, but also to win exceptional young talent for the exciting field of rehabilitation engineering,” says CEO and co-founder of Hocoma, Dr Gery Colombo. ETH Zurich and the ETH Zurich Foundation will cover the additional costs of the professorship.