Aspire CREATe Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology

ASPIRE centre, Stanmore

Aspire National Training Center in Stanmore

Aspire Create, the Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology, is an exciting new joint research venture between the Aspire Charity, University College London and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore. The centre was established at the beginning of 2014 to develop translational research to improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs). Currently, it houses five academics (Dr Tom Carlson, Dr Lynsey Duffell, Dr Rui Loureiro, Dr Steve Taylor and Dr Anne Vanhoestenberghe), along with their researchers. This rapidly growing centre investigates techniques that are applicable and transferable between different domains in related areas of interest, including, but not limited to stroke, muscular dystrophy, amputation, the ageing population and training of specialised skills (e.g. surgical). 



Dr Rui Loureiro Aspire Senior Lecturer
Dr Tom Carlson Aspire Lecturer
Dr Anne Vanhoestenberghe Aspire Lecturer
Dr Lynsey Duffell
Dr Steve Taylor Lecturer

Research Associates

Dr Michael Mentink Postdoc

PhD Students

Mr Chinemelu Ezeh PhD Student
Mr Elliott Magee PhD Student
Mr Andrew Symonds PhD Student

Research Assistants

Miss Tijana Jevtic PhD Student
Mr Ha Le PhD Student
Mr Peter Snow PhD Student

Affiliated Researchers

Prof Nick Donaldson Professor
Dr Catherine Holloway Lecturer
Dr Henry Lancashire Postdoc
Miss Giulia Barbareschi PhD Student
Mr George Saleh PhD Student  

Project Students

Mr Ashish Rathore iBSc Student
Mr Matthew Willett iBSc Student

Former Researchers

Mr Joris Van der Cruijsen Visiting student 2014-15  

MSc in Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technologies

Programme Director Dr Tom Carlson
Programme Co-Director Dr Anne Vanhoestenberghe
Programme Co-Director Dr Rui Loureiro


MSc in Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technologies

This exciting new Masters is offered by the recently formed Aspire Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology within the well-established and internationally respected Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore (UCL).

Rehabilitation engineering is a rapidly developing field, closely related to biomedical engineering, which has the potential to revolutionise the way we enable patients to independently take back control of their activities of daily living. Complementary to drugs and surgery, this MSc focusses on how state-of-the-art technologies, such as robotics, can be developed and used to help promote the restoration of motor function, or where this is not currently possible, how they can help to substitute lost motor function. The course targets complex and challenging medical conditions such as spinal cord injuries and stroke, as well as covering issues that arise from the global trend of the ageing population.

This unique MSc will: prepare students with core fundamental knowledge of these interdisciplinary subject areas; provide an overview of the many exciting applications of rehabilitation engineering and assistive technologies; and develop the students’ transferable research skills (including project planning, organisation, critical analysis, communication and teamwork skills). The taught modules will be supported in parallel by specially tailored lab-based group research projects, which will enable students to apply their knowledge and refine their research skills in small teams, within a supportive laboratory environment. This will prepare them for the culmination of the MSc: a comprehensive laboratory based individual project, where they will investigate cutting-edge research questions. To this end, they will be provided with an expert advisor, a network of knowledgeable colleagues and a well-equipped environment, which will open up opportunities for further research and publications.


MSc Curriculum

*Optional modules: students will choose exactly two of these. Each optional module will be run subject to attaining a minimum subscription of students for that module.

MSc Schedule

How Do I Apply?

Click for more information and to apply online.

Research Themes

These are our research themes, which we will link to our ongoing projects shortly...

  • Advanced human machine interaction
  • Brain-computer interfaces (software and hardware)
  • Haptics
  • Biosignal processing
  • Rehabilitation robotics
  • Electrical stimulation (surface and implantable)
  • Design and manufacture of biocompatible electrodes
  • Active implantable electronic devices
  • Robotic exoskeletons 
  • Adaptive shared control systems that assist when needed
  • User intention prediction
  • Smart wheelchairs
  • Student projects

Research and Project Opportunities

If you can't find a suitable project, please check back again soon. This list gets updated regularly, as and when new opportunities become available.

Postdoc Research Associate Positions

[closed] Research Associate (Job reference: 1436661) 

PhD Positions

[Closed] PhD studentship in Medical Engineering: Neuromodulation through  wearable devices to control bladder, bowel and limb spasticity following spinal cord injury [project info].

[closed] IBME Doctoral Training Programme

[closed] SLMS Grand Challenge Studentship 

Master Student Projects

[open] Tackling the mutual learning problem in a motor imagery based brain-computer interface [project info]

Bachelor Student Projects

None at present. 


These publications have been automatically extracted from the UCL Research Publication Database.

Research Publications

Retrieving data...


MoRe-T2: Mobility Research Trajectory Tracker

MoRe-T2 Diagram

In this project (funded by UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing) we developed a low-cost tool (MoRe-T2) that uses standard webcams or CCTV cameras to track the trajectories of people, wheelchairs and scooters in an accessibility and mobility research environment. Custom printed QR-type codes (on ordinary paper) are attached to participants, mobility devices or any objects of interest that allows us to generate rich and precise datasets. MoRe-T2 is currently deployed in both PAMELA and the Aspire Create lab, where it continues to be used to evaluate wheelchair interfaces. We are releasing the open-source code, which is freely available from . Further documentation and utilities will be made available in due course.

For further information and to refer to this work, please see / cite:

Ezeh, C., Holloway, H., Carlson, T. MoRe-T2: An easy-to-use, low cost tracking system for mobility research. The 14th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED2015), Lisbon, 2015.

News Archive (follow @UCLAspireCreate on Twitter for our latest news)

19 May 2015

Dr Tom Carlson is talking about Brain-controlled Assistive Technology at the Pint of Science festival. *Tickets Now Sold Out!* but do browse the rest of the Pint of Science website to find an intriguing event at a pub near you!

Pint of Science
13 May 2015 Dr Tom Carlson is giving an invited talk, entitled "Engineering paralysis: from robotics to neural interfaces", at the annual CoMPLEX conference.
8 Mar 2015

Dr Anne Vanhoestenberghe was one of this year's recipients of a Suffrage Science Award, in a ceremony at the Royal Academy.

Recipient of Suffrage Science Award 2015
26 Feb 2015

Dr Sarah Knight of the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre and Dr Anne Vanhoestenberghe of ASPIRE CREATe at UCL were awarded a cheque for £85,000 from the INSPIRE Foundation at a reception held at the River Room of the House of Lords.

Sarah Knight and Anne vanhoestenberghe Receive Inspire Cheque at House of Lords

The funds are to support a three year PhD student to carry out an investigation into the use of a technique called neuromodulation for controlling bladder and bowel function in patients living with spinal cord injuries.

Ultimately, the work will lead to the development of a device which can improve bladder and bowel function without the need for medication. The technique will probably also be transferable to other neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

The research will take place at the RNOH where, along with outstanding clinical care; collaboration between academics and health care professionals is actively encouraged and facilitated by the close proximity of UCL academics on the Stanmore site. We hope this exciting project will increase the quality of life of patients living with spinal cord injury and lead to further developments in this field.

For further information about the project please contact Sarah Knight (020 8909 5605) or Anne Vanhoestenberghe (0208 385 3787)

For further information about the INSPIRE Foundation, please visit their website at INSPIRE Foundation

 27 Jan 2015
PhD studentship with the London Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre announced here.
 22 Jan 2015 Rory Steevenson, Excecutive director of the INSPIRE Foundation, a charity fighting the effects of spinal cord injury, and Prof Ian Swain, Clinical Director Odstock Medical Limited and Professor of Clinical Engineering Bournemouth University will be visiting Aspire CREATe to launch our latest joint-project with the London Spinal Cord Injury Centre, on neuromodulation for bladder control. More on this soon!
10 Dec 2014 Congratulations to "The Eggsperts", Giulia Barbareschi, Chinemelu Ezeh and Rhys Williams, PhD students from Aspire Create and BIG@PAMELA, who scooped first place with their robot at the Institute of Making's Great Egg Race. Look at the photos.
10 Dec 2014 Dr Rui Loureiro gave an IBME seminar, entitled "Would you eat soup with a fork?". 
26 Nov 2014 Dr Anne Vanhoestenberghe gave a seminar to the IBME doctoral training programme students.
20 Nov 2014 Dr Tom Carlson gave a talk entitled "Brain-machine interfaces: science beyond fiction?" at a Café Scientifique, hosted by King Edward's School Witley, Surrey.
20 Nov 2014 We were honoured by a lab visit from the Dean of Medical Sciences, Prof David Lomas, where he interacted with our demos and chatted to our staff and students.
19 Nov 2014 Aspire Create delivered a Special Grand Round entitled "Technology for the advancement of rehabilitation of spinal cord injuries". It was a 1.5h lunchtime seminar, organised by the School of Life Sciences and Medicine, and open to the public and attracted over 100 attendees.
18 Sep 2014 We ran a very successful session during the Division of Surgery's Away Day, which introduced the Aspire Create and concluded with an interactive panel session.
16 Jul 2014 Dr Tom Carlson gave an IBME seminar, entitled "Sharing control between man and machine: from wheelchairs to brain-computer interfaces". It attracted a diverse audience and was followed by a lively question and answer session, drinks and nibbles.

Contact Us

The best way to contact us is to email one of the academics in the Personnel tab above.

Our office is located at UCL's Stanmore campus, on the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital site in Room 24 of the Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science (IOMS), building number 6 on this map (note that UP is SOUTH).

Our main lab is located on the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital site in the Peripheral Nerve Injury unit (PNI), building number 37 on this map (note that UP is SOUTH).

For issues relating to the Aspire Create website, please contact

Some of the organisations we work with or support our work:

Aspire Logo
Barbara Bus Fund
  Rehabilitation Engineering and Assitive Technology Society of North America

Logos Royal Free London - NHS Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital - NHS University College London Hospitals - NHS UCL Institute of Biomedical Engineering NPIMR