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WPI Award Recipients to Use Funds to Develop System Engineered to Assist Individuals with Disabilities

A recent news release announces that Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) recently presented the Kalenian Award to a team of researchers to support their work to develop a system engineered to assist individuals with cognitive or physical disabilities.

Tașkin Pardir, assistant professor of robotics engineering, WPI, is leading the team. The release notes that Pardir is working with Velin Dimitrov, who is seeking his PhD in robotics engineering at WPI, to develop the system. The pair received $25,000 to support the work titled, “Electromyography Input Inteface: Enabling Intuitive Operation of Assistive Robotic Platforms,” centers on developing a novel electromyography (EMG) interface designed to capture muscle movement electrical signals to control the “next generation of assistive devices.”

According to the release, the system uses sensors to record muscle response while users complete daily activities. When the user wishes to control an assistive device, the appropriate muscle response is detected by the system and the device is ordered to perform a certain action. The release notes that the more information is record, the more the assistive device can be tailored to predict what the user may need.

The team articulates its hope that the interfaces designed within the scope of award and contextual-aware control algorithms will provide intuitive operations of assistive devices, including wheelchairs and prostheses.

The award, Dimitrov says, will allow the team to improve the prototype and results with research, “I was elated because we’ve been talking about these ideas for a while and it’s nice to know someone else thinks they’re important and can be beneficial to people. And now we can move forward on the project.”

The Kalenian is the university’s top prize recognizing commercialization potential for a given invention. It is presented on a competitive basis and is intended to support innovative ideas or the development of commercial products.

Source: Worcester Polytechnic Institute