This summer the Steele Lab had the pleasure of hosting three undergraduate researchers – Julia Costacurta from Johns Hopkins, Joe Lawler from the University of Washington, and Preston Pan from the University of Washington.
After a competitive selection process, students are offered a 10-week internship here at the University to work directly with a research lab on campus. One of the program’s final deliverables is a presentation of their work, both in podium and poster format, to members of the local and scientific community. Congratulations to Julia, Joe, and Preston for their successful time here in the lab, and for giving polished presentations.
Julia’s work explored the impacts of Ankle-Foot Orthoses on transient gait, a period of walking where little is currently known about device dynamics.
Preston worked directly with Seattle Children’s Hospital to implement algorithms for detecting bimanual hand movement before, during, and after a common therapy used to promote improved motor skills for children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy.
Joe’s focus this summer involved working with the University of Washington HuskyADAPT program. HuskyADAPT is a student-run program in its second year and stands for Accessible Design and Play Technology. Joe’s research question asked, how we can improve upon and further promote an inclusive and sustainable program for assistive technology?
On May 18th, Claire Mitchell, Karley Benoff, and Makoto Eyre presented their research at the Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Symposium. These three students worked on year-long projects and showcased their hard work during a campus-wide poster session.
Claire’s research focused on creating a website and server framework for clinicians and researchers across the country to use for calculating muscle synergies for motor control analysis. Muscle synergies are an incredibly complex and computationally expensive analysis of electromyography data but provide quantification of motor control and assist in therapy prescription for movement disorders.
Karley and Mako’s research focused on designing and testing a 3D-printed elbow-driven orthosis for individuals with limited hand function. They drew inspiration from upper-extremity prosthetic devices and evaluated a voluntary close and voluntary open mechanism to assist an individual’s dominant limb.
Great work Karley, Mako, and Claire!
We are honored to have a 2018 Husky 100 member in our lab! The Husky 100 recognizes 100 UW undergraduate and graduate students from Bothell, Seattle, and Tacoma in all areas of study who are making the most of their time at the UW. Read an excerpt of Karley’s application packet below to learn more about her involvement with HuskyADAPT, her research with orthotic design, outreach, and her studies. Congratulations, Karley!
Journal article in Journal of Biomechanics:
How does the stiffness of an AFO impact the muscultendon dynamics of the gastrocnemius?
Ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) are designed to improve gait for individuals with neuromuscular conditions and have also been used to reduce energy costs of walking for unimpaired individuals. AFOs influence joint motion and metabolic cost, but how they impact muscle function remains unclear. This study investigated the impact of different stiffness ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) on medial gastrocnemius muscle (MG) and Achilles tendon (AT) function during two different walking speeds. We performed gait analyses for eight unimpaired individuals. Each individual walked at slow and very slow speeds with a 3D printed AFO with no resistance (free hinge condition) and four levels of ankle dorsiflexion stiffness: 0.25 Nm / °, 1 Nm / °, 2 Nm / °, and 3.7 Nm / °. Motion capture, ultrasound, and musculoskeletal modeling were used to quantify MG and AT lengths with each AFO condition. Increasing AFO stiffness increased peak AFO dorsiflexion moment with decreased peak knee extension and peak ankle dorsiflexion angles. Overall musculotendon length and peak AT length decreased, while peak MG length increased with increasing AFO stiffness. Peak MG activity, length, and velocity significantly decreased with slower walking speed. This study provides experimental evidence of the impact of AFO stiffness and walking speed on joint kinematics and musculotendon function. These methods can provide insight to improve AFO designs and optimize musculotendon function for rehabilitation, performance, or other goals.
Congratulations to Daniel, Wing-Sum and Claire for their excellent work this summer. We had the privilege of hosting three undergraduate students through the Summer Scholars program through Co-Motion and the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering here at the University of Washington.
Daniel presented in Mary Gates Hall on his research involving the implementation of a pediatric exoskeleton into low-resource countries:
Claire researched how varying muscles impact synergy outcomes:
Wing-Sum assessed the impact of an ankle foot orthosis on muscle demands in children with cerebral palsy and typically developing peers: