Yet Another Productive Summer!

BLINC in Germany, Japan, and the USA!

We had a very exciting summer this year. Ben Hallworth in Germany’s DLR, Heather Williams in Japan’s Osaka University, and Cierra Stiegelmar in the USA’s Rhodes College. They had a lot of research work done and a ton of fun!

In Memphis, TN, Cierra collaborated with the Computational and Applied Neuroscience (CAN) lab at Rhodes College. During the trip, she also explored the rich culture in Memphis, including food, art, music, and civil rights history. She enjoyed this opportunity and hopes to continue combining research collaboration with travel and cultural experience.

At the German Aerospace Centre (DLR)’s Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics near Munich, Germany, Ben collaborated with researchers in the Adaptive Bio-Interfaces group to develop and test a modular platform for assessing mix-modality, closed-loop prosthetic control. In addition to learning from the DLR’s mechatronics- and machine learning experts, Ben enjoyed many travel experiences including a visit to the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart and delivering a guest lecture at the Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction at the University of Aalborg in Denmark. Ben returns to the BLINC Lab in December eager to share stories and apply what he learned from this experience.

Heather participated in the Mitacs-JSPS Summer Program, along with other international graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. In Osaka University’s BioDynamics Laboratory, Heather integrated functional electrical stimulation (FES) into a leg exoskeleton by developing a state-based, closed-loop controller. Her research findings are expected to make inroads towards the ultimate development of a novel lower limb neuroprosthesis for gait rehabilitation. Outside of the lab, she enjoyed: visiting shrines, temples, and an onsen; eating delicious food; riding crazy roller coasters; and even climbing Mount Fuji in the night for a sunrise experience. She is grateful to Mitacs and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) for this research award and cultural opportunity.