Select Page



Dr. Rosalie Wang

Assistant Professor of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Dr. Wang is interested in enabling technology and environments to support meaningful activity.

Languages : English


Rosalie Wang, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.) is Assistant Professor of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. She is an Affiliate Scientist at KITE - Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and a member of their AI and Robotics in Rehabilitation team. She received her BSc. (OT) from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and worked as an Occupational Therapist in Canada and England.Her work experiences span the continuum of care for older adults, including long-term institutional, sub-acute/rehab, acute and community care settings. She has also worked in a seating and wheeled mobility specialist unit and a stroke rehabilitation unit. She completed her PhD in the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science in collaboration with the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Dr. Wang’s research focuses on developing and implementing technology to enable daily activity participation and social inclusion of seniors. She is leading research in robotics for post-stroke rehabilitation and on the use of information and communication technologies by seniors with cognitive impairments.As an AGE-WELL investigator she co-led a national project on enhancing equitable access to assistive technologies. Her interest in methodological approaches in disability and rehabilitation research has resulted in creation of the Framework for Accelerated and Systematic Technology-based intervention development and Evaluation Research (FASTER).


Technology to help adults age in place just a few years away
The Toronto Star

May 07, 2014

"It’s a scene reminiscent of the The Jetsons. A robot wheels around the room offering helpful advice, including a reminder to go to the bathroom.”Dr Rosalie Wang is referenced in this article by the Toronto Star.

Read More


The Time Is Now: A FASTER Approach to Generate Research Evidence for Technology-Based Interventions in the Field of Disability and Rehabilitation
Special Communication

2021Current approaches for generating high-quality research evidence for technology-based interventions in the field of disability and rehabilitation are inappropriate. Prevailing approaches often focus on randomized controlled trials as standard and apply clinical trial practices designed for pharmaceuticals; such approaches are unsuitable for technology-based interventions and are counterproductive to the goals of supporting people with disabilities and creating benefits for society. This communication is designed to: (1) advocate for the use of alternative approaches to generating evidence in the development and evaluation of technology-based interventions; (2) propose an alternative framework and guiding principles; and (3) stimulate action by multiple disciplines and sectors to discuss, adopt, and promote alternative approaches. Our Framework for Accelerated and Systematic Technology-based intervention development and Evaluation Research (FASTER) is informed by established innovation design processes, complex intervention development, evaluation, and implementation concepts as well as our collective experiences in technology-based interventions research and clinical rehabilitation practice.

Read Full Article

A comprehensive approach to reablement in dementia
Alzheimer's & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions

2017As society grapples with an aging population and increasing prevalence of disability, “reablement” as a means of maximizing functional ability in older people is emerging as a potential strategy to help promote independence. Reablement offers an approach to mitigate the impact of dementia on function and independence. This article presents a comprehensive reablement approach across seven domains for the person living with mild-to-moderate dementia. Domains include assessment and medical management, cognitive disability, physical function, acute injury or illness, assistive technology, supportive care, and caregiver support. In the absence of a cure or ability to significantly modify the course of the disease, the message for policy makers, practitioners, families, and persons with dementia needs to be “living well with dementia”, with a focus on maintaining function for as long as possible, regaining lost function when there is the potential to do so, and adapting to lost function that cannot be regained. Service delivery and care of persons with dementia must be reoriented such that evidence-based reablement approaches are integrated into routine care across all sectors.

Read Full Article

Robots to assist daily activities: views of older adults with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers
International Psychogeriatrics

2016Robots have the potential to both enable older adults with dementia to perform daily activities with greater independence, and provide support to caregivers. This study explored perspectives of older adults with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and their caregivers on robots that provide stepwise prompting to complete activities in the home. Ten dyads participated: Older adults with mild-to-moderate AD and difficulty completing activity steps, and their family caregivers. Older adults were prompted by a tele-operated robot to wash their hands in the bathroom and make a cup of tea in the kitchen. Caregivers observed interactions. Semi-structured interviews were conducted individually. Transcribed interviews were thematically analyzed. Three themes summarized responses to robot interactions: contemplating a future with assistive robots, considering opportunities with assistive robots, and reflecting on implications for social relationships. Older adults expressed opportunities for robots to help in daily activities, were open to the idea of robotic assistance, but did not want a robot. Caregivers identified numerous opportunities and were more open to robots.

Read Full Article

Power mobility with collision avoidance for older adults: User, caregiver, and prescriber perspectives
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development

2013Collision avoidance technology has the capacity to facilitate safer mobility among older power mobility users with physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments, thus enabling independence for more users. Little is known about consumers’ perceptions of collision avoidance. This article draws on inter- views (29 users, 5 caregivers, and 10 prescribers) to examine views on design and utilization of this technology. Data analysis identified three themes: “useful situations or contexts,” “tech- nology design issues and real-life application,” and “appropri- ateness of collision avoidance technology for a variety of users.” Findings support ongoing development of collision avoidance for older adult users. The majority of participants supported the technology and felt that it might benefit current users and users with visual impairments, but might be unsuitable for people with significant cognitive impairments. Some participants voiced concerns regarding the risk for injury with power mobility use and some identified situations where collision avoidance might be beneficial (driving backward, avoiding dynamic obstacles, negotiating outdoor barriers, and learning power mobility use).

Read Full Article

Development of a robotic device for upper limb stroke rehabilitation: A user-centered design approach
Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics

2012Stroke is one of the major causes of permanent adult disability. Stroke frequently affects motor control of the arm, leading to difficulties in doing activities of daily living. This research focuses on developing an upper limb rehabilitation robotic prototype through user-centered design to aid stroke survivors in rehabilitating their arm. To gather requirements from end users, stroke therapy sessions were observed and a survey of stroke therapists was conducted. End user requirements were evaluated to determine technical targets for the mechanical design of the prototype. Evaluation of the prototype was done with stroke therapists in a focus group and a preliminary biomechanical study. As user-centered design would require more iterations of design, testing and evaluation, this project reports a first step in developing an affordable, portable device, which could increase access to stroke rehabilitation for the arm.

Read Full Article

Evaluation of a Contact Sensor Skirt for an Anti-Collision Power Wheelchair for Older Adult Nursing Home Residents With Dementia: Safety and Mobility
Assistive Technology: The Official Journal of RESNA

2011We studied an anti-collision power wheelchair's ability to enable safe, independent mobility in nursing home residents with dementia. The device had a contact sensor skirt that compensated for drivers' absent or delayed responses to obstacles. Safety observations were tracked during device use. In six single-subject studies, distances traveled by residents in manual and anti-collision wheelchairs were compared. Two residents could use the device: One resident's mobility and well-being improved; the other thought it was unhelpful. Another resident with potential for use did not like its usability, speed, and appearance. For two other residents, the device did not compensate for decreased initiation, motor planning, and awareness of obstacles above the sensors. Another resident was withdrawn because of verbal aggression. Interviews and focus groups revealed the device's usefulness. Perceptions of safety were mixed. Further work should improve environmental coverage, sensor skirt reliability, and safety; match technology to the needs of a wider range of residents; and enhance usability, functionality, and acceptance.

Read Full Article

Usability testing of multimodal feedback interface and simulated collision-avoidance power wheelchair for long-term–care home residents with cognitive impairments
Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development

2011Many older adults in long-term–care homes have complex physical and cognitive impairments and have difficulty propelling manual wheelchairs. Power wheelchair use is restricted owing to safety concerns. Power wheelchairs with collision avoidance features are being developed to enable safe and independent mobility; however, a paucity of information exists on interface features to help users navigate away from obstacles. We developed a system combining an interface with auditory, visual, and haptic feedback and a simulated collision-avoidance power wheelchair. This device allowed the investigator to stop movement of the power wheelchair when users approached obstacles and to deliver feedback to help them navigate. Five long-term–care home residents with mild or moderate cognitive impairments evaluated device usability, which included effectiveness, efficiency, and user satisfaction. Each resident used the device for six 1 h sessions.

Read Full Article

The development of an upper limb stroke rehabilitation robot: identification of clinical practices and design requirements through a survey of therapists
Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology

2010Timely and adequate rehabilitation after a stroke is crucial to maximising recovery. A way of increasing treatment access could be through robots, which would aid therapists in providing post-stroke rehabilitation. This research sought to discover the needs and preferences of therapists with respect to a robot that focuses on upper limb rehabilitation. Understanding requirements for devices could help to increase integration into clinical practice. An international online survey was distributed through professional organisations and e-mail list services to therapists. The survey contained 85 items covering topics such as therapist background and treatment approach, rehabilitation aims and robotic rehabilitation device attributes. Data was analysed for 233 respondents, most of whom were physiotherapists and occupational therapists from Australia, Canada and USA. Top attributes included: facilitating a variety of arm movements, being usable while seated, giving biofeedback to clients, having virtual activities specific to daily living, being useful in-home and having resistance adjustable to client needs.

Read Full Article

Power Mobility for a Nursing Home Resident With Dementia
American Journal of Occupational Therapy

2009This case study describes an occupational therapy intervention to increase the self-mobility and social participation of a nursing home resident with dementia using a power wheelchair equipped with a collision-prevention system. We used an exploratory case study design. Data sources included the medical record, standardized assessments, interviews, observations of daily activities, and a driving log. During driving sessions, changes in affect such as smiling and attempts to socialize were noted. The resident required ongoing prompting to operate the modified power wheelchair. The resident was unable to achieve self-mobility with an intervention involving a modified power wheelchair. However, this study demonstrates that even supervised mobility can have a positive impact on affect and social participation. Observations from this study are being applied to the design and testing of the next generation of power wheelchairs intended for use by nursing home residents with dementia.

Read Full Article



Area of Expertise


Assistive Technology


Occupational Therapy




Technology Design


Toronto Rehabilitation Institute : Affiliate Scientist




Writing and Editing

Health and Wellness

Health Care - Services

Health Care - Providers

Elder Care

Medical Devices


University of Toronto : Rehabilitation Science, Biomedical Engineering

University of British Columbia : Occupational Therapy

Share This