Apply to join our team by completing this prospective trainee application.

Students interested in joining the lab should review the list of potential projects below and identify in their application a few projects that they are qualified for or interested in working on. Prospective students are also welcome to pitch their own projects as long as it is broadly within the scope of our NeuroRobotics Lab.

Please note that our ability to take on new prospective students is primarily determined by the availability of a senior mentor. While background experience is not required, having some relevant experience can allow a student to work more independently and reduce the time commitment necessary from a senior mentor.

Students from diverse, underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply. Students interested in a graduate career in NeuroRobotics are also highly encouraged to apply.

Currently Available Projects for Trainees

Virtual Reality Simulations for Adaptive Sports (in conjunction with Tetradapt)
Summary: We have developed motorized skis and sailboats for individuals with high-level spinal cord injury that can be controlled by thought.
Purpose/Goals: Our goal is to develop an immersive virtual reality simulator for patients to practice adaptive skiing and sailing prior to visiting the mountain/lake.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Programming experience with unity3d is ideal but not required. Prior experience skiing or sailing is also helpful.

Augmented/Mixed Reality Hand Assessment
Summary: Identify and integrate a state-of-the-art augmented/mixed reality headset in our lab environment and develop a novel hand assessment
Purpose/Goals: In order to assess our novel sensory feedback strategies for augmented reality, we need to development an environment where physical items can be moved alongside virtual items in augmented/mix reality.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: experience with virtual reality games and/or computer programming is preferred, but not required

Data Augmentation for Deep Learning Control of Myoelectric Prostheses/Orthoses
Summary: Design, implement and validate data augmentation approaches for deep learning with myoelectric data
Purpose/Goals: Data augmentation of images improves deep learning image recognition; these same principles could be used to improve deep learning prosthetic control
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Experience with machine learning preferred

Stimulation Sleeve
Summary: Design and test a compression sleeve with 32 embedded stimulation electrodes.
Purpose/Goals: A high-density electrode sleeve will provide consistent stimulation sites to evoke finger movements through noninvasive stimulation.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: N/A

Gait Decoding from sEMG Sock
Summary: Design and implement algorithms to decode fitness metrics and gait position from lower limb sEMG signals.
Purpose/Goals: We have designed a sock with embedded electrodes that measures sEMG signals and could be used to access fitness metrics or control bionic devices. This project seeks to apply machine learning and decoding algorithms to measure fatigue and predict gait metrics from the lower limb sEMG data.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Matlab - preferred

Hand Kinematics after Stroke
Summary: Track hand kinematics during manual dexterity tasks to measure how kinematics change with stroke recovery
Purpose/Goals: A better understanding of how kinematics change throughout stroke recovery will aid the understanding of neuromuscular recovery and the development of assistive/rehabilitative devices
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: MATLAB experience preferred

sEMG Sleeve for Spastic Hands
Summary: Design and test a compression sleeve with surface EMG (sEMG) electrodes that can be donned without sliding over the hand.
Purpose/Goals: Current sEMG sleeves can be difficult or painful to stretch over a spastic hand. An sEMG sleeve that can be put on from the side would be more comfortable for patients.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: N/A

Vibrotactile Feedback for Gait Asymmetry
Summary: Develop a wearable device with accelerometers and vibrotactile motors to detect gait asymmetry and provide real-time feedback
Purpose/Goals: Patients with sensory or motor impairments often have asymmetrical gait; vibrotactile feedback could help them correct asymmetries
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: C programming, Arduino/Microcontrollers

Accelerometer-Controlled Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)
Summary: Use a wearable accelerometer to control FES of the hand
Purpose/Goals: Patients with stroke or spinal cord injury often lack hand function but retain wrist function; FES-evoke hand motions controlled by the wrist could restore autonomy.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: C programming, Arduino/Microcontrollers

Mechanical Designer
Summary: Work with lab members to design and 3D-print various components for their projects
Purpose/goals: Support lab members with rapid development and prototyping of customized components for their research projects. Can serve as an introductory project for less qualified individuals who would like to acquire technical skills for other lab projects.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Solidworks & 3D-printing

Website Maintenance
Summary: Work with department IT personnel to maintain professional appearance of the lab website and to keep the information up to date.
Purpose/goals: Ensure proper and timely dissemination of lab information and become familiar with ongoing lab research and current lab members. Can serve as an introductory project for less qualified individuals who would like to acquire technical skills for other lab projects.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: N/A

Past Trainee Projects (no longer available)

Inexpensive, Lightweight Exoskeleton for Hand Rehabilitation
Summary: Design and validate an inexpensive, lightweight, 3D-printed, adaptable hand exoskeleton
Purpose/Goals: An adaptable hand exoskeleton can be used to rehabilitate patients recovering from stroke and to allow researchers to test prosthetic control algorithms without the use of a bypass socket
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Prototyping with CAD software (SolidWorks), 3D-printing

Integrated Surface Electromyography Electrodes in a Watch Strap for Controlling Partial-Hand Prostheses
Summary: Design a watch strap with integrated electrodes capable of recording electromyographic signals from extrinsic forearm muscles
Purpose/Goals: A non-invasive high-density electrode strap would provide improved control for partial-hand prosthesis in a sleek form factor
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Soldering and circuit design experience required. ECE background preferred.

Smartphone Processing of Electromyographic Data for Intuitive Control of Mobile Applications and Prostheses
Summary: Develop a cross-platform mobile application for wirelessly receiving and processing electromyographic data
Purpose/Goals: Processing electromyographic data on smartphones will improve computational power and lower the cost of prostheses, as well as provide a novel control scheme for mobile applications
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Mobile app development experience required. Bluetooth and Arduino experience preferred.

Functional Just-Noticeable Differences for Electrocutaneous Stimulation Pulse Frequency
Summary: Map the ability of human subjects to discriminate electrocutaneous stimulation pulse frequency across a spectrum of stimulation frequencies
Purpose/Goals: Theoretical work suggests it is possible to discriminate up to 31 different stimulation pulse frequencies between 1 and 300 Hz, but the theory may not hold true at the limit conditions (e.g., near 1 Hz or near 300 Hz).
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: N/A

Low-Cost Control System for High-Density Electromyography Control of Prostheses
Summary: Finalize the development of a Raspberry Pi control system for decoding electromyographic data
Purpose/Goals: Developing a plug-and-play low-cost control system will enable widespread use of more dexterous bionic arms, as well as enable pathways to bring novel control schemes to smart-home devices and assistive technology
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Python and Arduino experience preferred.

Measurement indices for craniosynostosis (in conjunction with Hanger Clinic)
Summary: craniosynostosis is a premature fusion of a cranial suture that leads to profoundly abnormal infant head shapes and can be corrected with an orthotic helmet
Purpose/Goals: No standardized measurement indices have been established to quantify severity and track improvement
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Programming in Python, C++, Java, R or Swift, vector calculus, and experience with mesh files (stl, igs, 3mf)

Wrist EMG Electrode Placement
Summary: Surface electromyography (sEMG) measures the muscle signals through the skin. Traditionally, our lab measures sEMG at the forearm to target the muscle bellies for the hand and wrist flexor and extensor muscles. We want to observe how different electrode patterns and placements at the wrist can be leveraged to acquire a stronger signal.
Purpose/Goals: Improve the sEMG readings at the wrist by testing different spacings, locations, and configurations
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Digital signal processing, basic muscle anatomy.

Biomimetic Stimulation Patterns for Improved Tactile Discrimination
Summary: Compare the ability of human subjects to discriminate various forms of electrocutaneous stimulation
Purpose/Goals: Artificial sensory feedback that is biomimetic (i.e., mimics the natural language of the nervous system) may improve tactile discrimination for amputees using sensorized bionic arms
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: N/A

Wireless Proximity and Pressure Sensor for Detecting Driving Pedals for Individuals with Lower-Limb Sensory Loss
Summary: Design and build a wireless portable network that links a proximity and pressure with a remote light
Purpose/Goals: People with sensory loss cannot detect if they are pressing on the gas pedal or break pedal while driving; a light triggered by proximity to the pedal would help them drive.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Arduino, Wireless Communication

Multi-channel Neural Stimulator V2
Summary: Design and integrate low-power functionality and more channels into our low-cost neural stimulator.
Purpose/Goals: Increasing the channel count of our neural stimulator will increase the number of sensations and movements that can be evoked at a time with it. Switching from a BJT design to a MOSFET design will decrease the heat generated by the device.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Circuit design and soldering experience preferred

EMG Data Compression for Low-Power Wireless Communication
Summary: Review and implement state-of-the-art data compression techniques for electromyographic (EMG) data
Purpose/Goals: Reducing energy consumption can reduce battery size and increase adoptability of wireless EMG technology. This would involve signal analysis to see which frequencies are most critical to the quality of the EMG signal and sampling the EMG accordingly to maximize efficiency.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: MATLAB, Arduino

Tactile Discriminability after Stroke
Summary: Precisely quantify the loss of tactile discrimination in hemiparetic hands after stroke
Purpose/Goals: Anecdotal reports suggest that sensory function is lost after stroke. A precise quantification of the loss of tactile discrimination can be used to assess novel sensory-restoration technology and to diagnose stroke severity.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: N/A

Supernumerary Digit for Enhanced Dexterity
Summary: Design and validate an Arduino-based, 3D-printed, robotic, supernumerary digit
Purpose/Goals: A self-aware robotic supernumerary digit can be used in conjunction with biological digits to enhance human dexterity and to explore the functional and psychological benefits of symbiotic cyber-human systems
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Prototyping with CAD software (SolidWorks), 3D-printing, Arduino development, experience with servo motors

Friction Gloves to Improve Dexterity
Summary: Quantify the impact of friction on hand dexterity in stroke patients
Purpose/Goals: A loss of grip strength due to post-stroke hemiparesis could be overcome with high-friction gloves
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: N/A

Soft Prosthetic Fingers
Summary: Design and test soft, deformable finger pads for a prosthetic hand.
Purpose/goals: Soft robotic grippers have been shown to outperform their rigid counterparts when handling odd-shaped or fragile objects. Expanding this to prosthetics hands could result in more secure grips that require less concentration to use.
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Solidworks & 3D-printing preferred

Embodiment of an Intuitively Controlled Bionic Arm
Summary: Quantify the extent to which the embodiment of a bionic arm can be enhanced by more intuitive control
Purpose/Goals: Increasing embodiment (the belief that a prosthesis is a part of your own body) would improve amputee satisfaction
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: N/A

Vibrotactile Sensory Feedback
Summary: Develop an array of vibrotactile feedback sensors to aid individuals with sensory loss
Purpose/Goals: Supplemental sensory feedback in the form of vibrations from a motor can help improve motor control
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: N/A

Instrumented Fragile Object Graphical User Interface
Summary: Our lab has developed an "instrumented fragile object", which senses movement and grip strength when picked up and manipulated. This tool is used to assess stroke patients as well as validate dexterity of exoskeletons and prostheses. The instrumented egg interfaces wirelessly over WiFi, but we would like to develop a GUI to facilitate the process of using the egg to begin moving the device into the clinical sphere
Purpose/Goals: Design and build a GUI that is robust and easy to use and will display graphs and record data from a wireless device
Technical Requirements & Preferred Experience: Python, App Development