The Ability & Innovation Lab’s own Alyssa Spomer was featured in an article, Supporting mobility in cerebral palsy, via the Department of Mechanical Engineering. This article highlighted her work on how a robotic exoskeleton device paired with real-time feedback can enhance rehabilitation therapy for children with cerebral palsy. Way to go Alyssa!
Kat Steele on BOOM talking mobility, accessibility, and design
BOOM! Kat Steele was recently a guest speaker on the fantastic podcast BOOM: Biomechanics On Our Minds hosted by Melissa Boswell and Hannah O’Day. Kat joined BOOM for their first episode of a four-part series discussing mobility, accessibility, and design.
Definitely give this episode a listen on SoundCloud, Spotify, or Apple Podcast, and follow along with the rest of the four-part series and all great BOOM content on the same podcast services.
boom. Boom. BOOM!
M Yamagami, KM Steele, SA Burden (2020) “Decoding Intent With Control Theory: Comparing Muscle Versus Manual Interface Performance”
Journal Article in ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) 2020 Preceedings:
These results suggest that control theory modeling can provide a platform to successfully quantify device performance in the absence of errors arising from motor impairments
Photo (top and bottom) of a user using a slider (top) and muscles (bottom) to control a cursor on the screen.
(Top image) Side image of user. User rests their elbow and pinches the slider and moves the slider towards and away from their body to control the cursor.
(Bottom image) Side image of user. User is strapped to a rigid device holding a bar with hands supinated towards the ceiling, with the forearms at a 90 degree angle from the upper arms.
Electrodes are placed on the biceps and triceps and labelled. Arrows pointing up and down indicate that users move their arm up and down to control the cursor.
Background: Manual device interaction requires precise coordination which may be difficult for users with motor impairments. Muscle interfaces provide alternative interaction methods that may enhance performance, but have not yet been evaluated for simple (eg. mouse tracking) and complex (eg. driving) continuous tasks. Control theory enables us to probe continuous task performance by separating user input into intent and error correction to quantify how motor impairments impact device interaction
Aim: Propose and extend an experimental and analytical method to guide future development of accessible interfaces like muscle interfaces using control theory
Method: We compared the effectiveness of a manual versus a muscle interface for eleven users without and three users with motor impairments performing continuous tasks.
Results: Both user groups preferred and performed better with the muscle versus the manual interface for the complex continuous task.
Interpretation: Results suggest muscle interfaces and algorithms that can detect and augment user intent may be especially useful for future design of interfaces for continuous tasks.
Momona also gave a phenomenal talk on this paper last week in the University of Washington’s ‘DUB Shorts’ series (video posted below). Nice job Momona!
NBC Learn: Exoskeletons and Engineering
We partnered with NBC Learn to share some of our work on exoskeletons to help encourage students to consider a career in engineering. What can be more exciting than musculoskeletal modeling, exoskeletons, horses, and stuffed animals?
Check out the video – a lesson plan will also be posted soon for classrooms to use.