On November 9th, Alicia MacDonald presented her work on optimization of an upper-limb prosthesis assessment tool called the Instrumented Cup at the WE19 conference in Anaheim, California. She competed in the Undergraduate Rapid Fire Competition and placed 2nd! She had a great time meeting fellow engineering students and representatives from biomedical device companies.
Read more here.
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.
Earlier this October we organized the 1st Annual Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control Lab Graduational Pro-Am Fun Run Race For The Cure! The main goal of the event was to help chase Aïda (a former member of the UofA Panda’s track team and PhD candidate in the BLINC lab) over the finish line of her graduate studies. Rory Dawson and McNiel Keri (recently graduated MSc Student) had previously challenged her to the race, but since McNiel had already moved away to Calgary to start med school he was only able to symbolically run the race by being attached to Rory’s bluetooth speaker. Several other lab members joined in to walk the first lap of the race and cheer on the runners.
A re-enactment of the photo finish. Aïda was so fast she leafed us all behind.
Without further adieu here are the final results from the 5000m race which included 2 laps around Hawrelak Park and an extra stretch through the parking lot:
- Aïda “La Victorieuse” Valevicius – 21:30ish
- McNiel “Carefree and Carried” Keri – 23.37.39
- Rory “Slogging Through That Last Lap Like a Bee Through Molasses” Dawson – 23:38.00
- 4. Heather “The Feather” Williams – best costume
4. Eric “Wishing You” Wells – best sportsmanship
4. Josh “Oh My Gosh” Whitney – best in show
4. Janine “Push it to the Limit” Pushor – best perseverance
4. Quinn “Quinning” Boser – best participation
In the end we were all winners.
We had so much fun that we decided to make it an annual event that we can look forward to for years to come. Also, congratulations to Heather for getting 1st prize in the costume contest and helping inspire the name of our race:
On October 28th, we presented two of our most recent projects at the 2018 IEEE Life Sciences Conference in Quebec, Canada. These projects included development of advanced lower-limb prostheses sensors and development and assessment of myoelectric training tools.
Both projects were awarded best paper award and best poster award. Congrats McNiel and James! Read more here.
On November 7th, we presented 7 of our most recent projects at the 2018 Spotlight on Innovation: Health to Home conference. These projects included development of advanced prostheses control, development of modular prosthetic sockets, novel gait assessment methods, and prostheses performance assessment protocols.
Also, we got to learn about different projects and how to move the technologies we have from our lab to the homes of our patients. Thanks for the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital and Alberta Health Services for organizing this conference.
On February 20th and 21st the BLINC lab volunteered at the WISEST CHOICES Conference, where groups of Grade 6 girls visit the University of Alberta from all over the city and beyond to learn and get excited about Science, Engineering & Technology.
The students who attended our activity learned all about prosthetic devices and designed their own string-powered paper prosthetic hands. We had a blast and appreciate all of the wonderful questions and insights from the students and teachers!
From everyone at the BLINC lab we wish you all the very best for the Holiday Season! We are looking forward to lots of exciting research in the New Year!
This summer the BLINC lab volunteered with the DiscoverE Senior Robotics camp! We introduced the students to the basics of text based coding and they used their skills to control individual fingers of the HANDi Hand. We had a great time and were very impressed by the knowledge and curiosity of the campers. A few quotes from the students:
“I really enjoyed this presentation because I’ve always wanted to learn a coding language, now I know how to code an Arduino board. I think I want to go into Robotics some day.”
“I really enjoyed how they gave us the opportunity to apply our learning from the presentation to various hands and activities that really helped me understand programming and its importance in almost all robots. I also enjoyed the group discussions so that we could share our ideas with other classmates. I had an amazing time learning about something I was interested in too.”
We just launched the much hand-ticipated open source files for the HANDi Hand! The initial release includes all 3D print files, STEP files, assembly manual, and Arduino sketches you need to build your own HANDi Hand. You can also look forward to future releases of exciting related projects, including an inexpensive data glove for intuitive control.
On April 25th, the BLINC lab hosted the 77th Edmonton Guides. Together we learned all about engineering, prosthetic devices, tools, and robotics. The girls even had a chance to make their own paper prostheses!
What an intelligent, curious, and enthusiastic group of girls. Thanks for stopping by!