US Patent Office Visit

Patent examiners spend their days critically evaluating the latest innovations, to determine if they are useful, novel, and non-obvious. When one of our students asked them what daily life is like as a patent examiner they responded, we basically write a 10-15 page report every 2-3 days.

Thankfully the patent office lets them escape from behind their computers a few times a year to meet with companies, research labs, and other entities. These visits help them see what is new and exciting in their specialty area.

We were lucky enough to host one of these teams this past week in the AMP Lab. Tim Stanis, a primary examiner from Art Unit 3786 that specializes in exoskeletons, orthoses, passive motion rehabilitation devices, and biomechanical technology led the visit. He was joined by nine other examiners.

One of the patent examiners in a red checkered shirt answers students questions. He is seated at a table with hands clasped in front of him.

Our lab demoed our latest creations in orthoses, biofeedback systems, and smartphone sensing. Patrick Aubin from the VA Hospital, Murray Maitland from Rehab Medicine, Chet Moritz from Electrical Engineering, and Tapo Bhattacharjee also shared their latest work.

We ended the session with a Q&A Panel for summer students to learn about career opportunities as a patent examiner and advice for new innovators. Most of the examiners had an undergraduate or master’s degree in engineering. They emphasized that working for the patent office is a great, flexible career path. As a patent examiner they are able to work remotely, have flexible hours, and enjoy other benefits such as having law school paid for.

Students listen attentively to the Q&A Panel. Some look bored, some look amused, and one is even taking notes, or maybe doodling!

For new innovators, they emphasized the importance of understanding the patent landscape. They recommended using Google Patents! Patents can seem intimidating. They recommended starting with the pictures and focusing on the claims. They also emphasized the importance of having a team. Translating technology requires team members with technical, business, and clinical backgrounds.

For our part, we were excited to meet real, live patent examiners. We appreciated seeing their faces and enjoyed sharing our work with them.

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!

M Rosenberg, KM Steele (2017) “Simulated impacts of ankle foot orthoses on muscle demand and recruitment in typically-developing children and children with cerebral palsy and crouch gait.” PLoS ONE

Top: Ankle, knee and hip kinematics for gait in TD children and children with crouch gait. TD children walked with less ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion during stance than those with crouch gait. Bottom: Ankle, knee and hip moments for gait in TD children and crouch gait. TD children generated larger peak plantarflexor moments and smaller peak knee extensor moments compared to crouch gait. Knee extensor moments increased with increasing crouch severity.

Journal article in PLOS ONE:

Michael Rosenberg and Kat Steele investigate the impacts of ankle foot orthoses on children with cerebral palsy and typically-developing peers through simulation.

Background

Passive ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) are often prescribed for children with cerebral palsy (CP) to assist locomotion, but predicting how specific device designs will impact energetic demand during gait remains challenging. Powered AFOs have been shown to reduce energy costs of walking in unimpaired adults more than passive AFOs, but have not been tested in children with CP.

Aim

The goal of this study was to investigate the potential impact of powered and passive AFOs on muscle demand and recruitment in children with CP and crouch gait.

Method

We simulated gait for nine children with crouch gait and three typically-developing children with powered and passive AFOs. For each AFO design, we computed reductions in muscle demand compared to unassisted gait.

Results

Powered AFOs reduced muscle demand 15–44% compared to unassisted walking, 1–14% more than passive AFOs. A slower walking speed was associated with smaller reductions in absolute muscle demand for all AFOs (r2 = 0.60–0.70). However, reductions in muscle demand were only moderately correlated with crouch severity (r2 = 0.40–0.43). The ankle plantarflexor muscles were most heavily impacted by the AFOs, with gastrocnemius recruitment decreasing 13–73% and correlating with increasing knee flexor moments (r2 = 0.29–0.91).

Interpretation

These findings support the potential use of powered AFOs for children with crouch gait, and highlight how subject-specific kinematics and kinetics may influence muscle demand and recruitment to inform AFO design. PDF

Top: Ankle, knee and hip kinematics for gait in TD children and children with crouch gait. TD children walked with less ankle dorsiflexion and knee flexion during stance than those with crouch gait. Bottom: Ankle, knee and hip moments for gait in TD children and crouch gait. TD children generated larger peak plantarflexor moments and smaller peak knee extensor moments compared to crouch gait. Knee extensor moments increased with increasing crouch severity.

Jessica Zistatsis to Present at UW Medicine – Inventor of the Year Event

Jessica Zistatsis to Present at UW Medicine –  Inventor of the Year Event

Tomorrow a group of esteemed faculty and students will present their work during the UW Inventor of the Year event at the Don James Center, Husky Stadium on November 15, 2016 from 5-7:30 p.m.

Samual Browd, Jonathan Posner, and Per Reinhall will be recognized for their collaborative work inventing and developing a football helmet designed to mitigate the forces thought to contribute to concussions. Jessica will be presenting a poster for her pediatric exoskeleton and competing in a lightning pitch competition.

jessicaz