Claire Mitchell, Karley Benoff, and Makoto Eyre present at the Mary Gates Research Symposium

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.

Claire Mitchell, and undergraduate student in the Steele Lab, stands in front of her poster at Mary Gates Hall during the undergraduate research symposium. Claire is wearing a white and blue floral blouse. She is in the middle of describing her research project to four community members who have taken an interest in her research.

Makoto Eyre and Karley Benoff stand nearly back to back in front of their poster at Mary Gates Hall during the undergraduate research symposium. Makoto is facing to the left of the poster, and is wearing glasses, a white button up shirt and black slacks while conversing with members of the community outside of the images capture. Karley Benoff has shoulder length brown and blonde hair and is wearing a pink blouse while helping to fit a member of the community with her 3D-printed device at the elbow. Karley and the female community member are making sure the device's elbow joint is aligning well with the community member's elbow.







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!

The interior courtyard of Mary Gates Hall has interior windows and a combination of new and old architectural elements. This is the location where hundreds of undergraduate presenters and community members discuss research accomplishments and next steps.

Karley Benoff named in the Husky 100!

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!

H Choi, KM Peters, M MacConnell, K Ly, E Eckert, KM Steele (2017) “Impact of ankle foot orthosis stiffness on Achilles tendon and gastrocnemius function during unimpaired gait.” Journal of Biomechanics

Journal article in Journal of Biomechanics:

How does the stiffness of an AFO impact the muscultendon dynamics of the gastrocnemius?


Method combining ultrasound and musculoskeletal modeling to evaluate changes in muscle and tendon length.

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.



CL Bennett, K Cen, KM Steele, DK Rosner, (2016) “An intimate laboratory? Prostheses as a tool for experimenting with identity and normalcy.” CHI Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM

Prostheses from the 15th century (medieval metal hand) to the 21st century (3D-printed enable hand).

Peer-review paper at CHI Human Factors in Computing Systems Annual Conference:

Prostheses are more than just a tool to enhance function – they strongly influence perceptions of identity and normalcy.

Prostheses from the 15th century (medieval metal hand) to the 21st century (3D-printed enable hand).Abstract: This paper is about the aspects of ability, selfhood, and normalcy embodied in people’s relationships with prostheses. Drawing on interviews with 14 individuals with upper-limb loss and diverse experiences with prostheses, we find people not only choose to use and not use prosthesis throughout their lives but also form close and complex relationships with them. The design of “assistive” technology often focuses on enhancing function; however, we found that prostheses played important roles in people’s development of identity and sense of normalcy. Even when a prosthesis failed functionally, such as was the case with 3D-printed prostheses created by an on-line open-source maker community (e-NABLE), we found people still praised the design and initiative because of the positive impacts on popular culture, identity, and community building. This work surfaces crucial questions about the role of design interventions in identity production, the promise of maker communities for accelerating innovation, and a broader definition of “assistive” technology.

View the video for more information on this work.

Optimizing Orthoses – Presentation & Workshop

Washington Object-Oriented Fabrication Club Logo

Our very own Hwan Choi will be giving a presentation on his PhD research at the Co-Motion MakerSpace at the University of Washington. Join us on Tuesday, January 26th 3:30pm-4:30pm to learn more about his research “Optimizing Orthoses”, and how to modify 3D scanned files in Meshmixer in order to make a mechanically driven device for yourself. This event is collaboration with UW’s WOOF3D club. See below for additional details.

Hwan Choi Presentation