Hometown: Londonderry, New Hampshire
Graduation date: Spring 2021
GCSP | Fall 2020
Muscle Response During Multidirectional Interaction with a Variable Damping Controlled Ankle RobotRobotic exoskeletons have tremendous potential for implementation in defense, industrial factories, and medical rehabilitation. However, current systems rely primarily on negative damping controllers which although safe, are very slow and unagile. In order to maximize the efficiency of exoskeletons, the damping of the system may change proportional to the acceleration of the user through a variable damping controller. This project aims to quantify the ability of a variable damping controller to reduce muscle activation using electromyography sensors during 2D physical human-robot interaction (pHRI) of the human ankle.
Mentor: Hyunglae Lee
Featured project | Fall 2020
Why did you choose the project you’re working on?
My interest in research stems from my personal experience with neuromuscular disease. Current research shows tremendous potential for robots to help in rehabilitation with conditions like stroke and cerebral palsy. Furthermore, the field of assistive robotics is greatly expanding and the opportunity to participate is one worth taking advantage of!
What has been your most memorable experience as a student researcher in GCSP?
My most memorable experience as a student researcher has been the discussions I’ve had with other lab members about mutual interests in research. One of the graduate students in our lab was a subject in my experiment and we spent all the downtime discussing brain-computer interfaces. It turns out we will be sharing a neural engineering class next semester!
How will your engineering research project impact the world?
I hope that my project will help further the field of assistive robotics so that they may be more widely used to improve people’s quality of life in the future.
How do you see this experience helping with your career and advanced degree goals?
I think that it is a tremendous opportunity to run a funded research study during my undergraduate studies. I plan on pursuing a doctoral degree after graduation, and I am sure that my participation in GCSP and FURI will provide a boost to my applications. I’ve been able to author two conference papers and I am currently co-authoring my first journal submission, but it would have been much more difficult for me to do this without the financial support provided by these programs.
Why should other students get involved in this program?
Students should get involved because it gives them an opportunity to apply the concepts they are learning from their classes to problems that will make a positive impact on the world. The MATLAB coding I’ve done for my research has really improved my ability to write in this language and serves as a really great resume booster.