A group of lab members attended the 45th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2023), which took place in Sydney from July 24 to 27.
Jon organised a workshop entitled “Advances in Sensorimotor Augmentation” and presented his recent research findings along with other featured speakers. He also introduced his research about “A virtual reality platform to evaluate supernumerary limbs’ appearance” at the conference. The lab’s PhD candidates Jing, Tianshi, Jihoon, and Xinliang also presented their papers and engaged in discussions with academics and researchers about their work:
Jing – “Experimental validation on dual-frequency outperforms single-frequency SSVEP with large numbers of targets within a given frequency range”
Tianshi – Feasibility evaluation of online classification-based control for gross movement in a 2-DoF prosthetic arm”
Jihoon – “A preliminary usability study of integrated electronic tattoo surface electromyography (sEMG) sensors”
Xinliang – “Using sEMG Signal Frequency to Evaluate Post-Stroke Elbow Spasticity”
In addition to their academic pursuits, the attendees also caught some exciting moments from the Women’s World Cup 2023 in Sydney during their after-hour time. The match between France and Jamaica ended in a 0-0 draw.
From September 24 to 28, Denny, Tomislav, and Mingrui attended the 2023 International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR) RehabWeek in Singapore. Mingrui presented his paper titled “Modelling human robot interface with different users, cuffs and strapping pressure: a case study” at the conference.
Congratulations Mingrui for receiving the 2023 MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarship!
The Scholarship encourages the next generation of health leaders to build strong foundations in commercialisation, supporting the scientific community’s capacity to bring innovation to market. Recipients embark on a four-month scholarship, where they gain knowledge from leading industry experts, work alongside Australia’s emerging healthcare entrepreneurs and receive mentorship from MedTech Actuator.
On August 17th and 20th, the university’s Science Festival and Open Day witnessed a standout showcase by the Human Robotics Lab, where their innovative robot, EMU, took centre stage. Drawing widespread acclaim, EMU exemplified the cutting-edge robotics research within the university. The entire university community extends gratitude to participants and anticipates future advancements.
On Friday 8th September, Xiruo Cheng delivered her Completion Seminar for her thesis titled “Investigation of User Volitional Influence on Foot Placement in Assistive Lower Limb Exoskeleton”.
Xiruo’s work investigated how an exoskeleton user – typically someone with little lower limb movement capability, such as an individual with a spinal cord injury – can physically influence the resulting foot placement when using an exoskeleton. Her work informs the development of strategies for exoskeleton control to include and leverage this physical influence.
Introducing our recent graduates, Jing, who has earned a PhD, and Xinliang, who has completed his MPhil, following their graduation ceremony on August 11st. Jing has now taken on the role of postdoctoral research fellow in the Biomedical Engineering Department, and Xinliang is working towards his PhD degree in the Human Robotics Lab.
On August 18th, the Mechanical Engineering Research Student Association (MERSA) and the Student Orthopaedic and Musculoskeletal Association (SOMA) co-hosted a mini-workshop focusing on engineering solutions for orthopaedic challenges. Held at Melbourne Connect, the evening featured two speakers: A/Prof. Erich Rutz (Royal Children’s Hospital) and Dr Tomislav Bacek (Research Fellow, Human Robotics Lab), who delved into the surgical treatment and research around musculoskeletal aspects of Cerebral Palsy, and explored the nuances of human walking dynamics and its implications for robotics-assisted physical rehabilitation, respectively. We are delighted to hear our audience finding it very helpful and already hoping to attend the next event.
On July 31st, the Human Robotics Lab hosted a mini-symposium on human-robot interaction and interfacing with visiting neuroscientists, roboticists and a performance from the local performance artist Stelarc. Within the symposium, we heard interesting talks from Prof. Carsten Mehring (University of Freiburg) on efforts to identify biological signals for augmenting the mechanical abilities of humans; Dr Ekaterina Ivanova (Queen Mary University of London/Imperial College London) on understanding the mechanisms of haptic communication between groups of humans and in trying to replicate those mechanisms for human-robot interaction. While Prof. Etienne Burdet (Imperial College London) was unfortunately unable to join us in person, we were also very lucky to have a talk from him on impedance and muscle adaptation for human-robot interaction.
To conclude the symposium, Stelarc then gave a demonstration that integrated his extended arm with a sonic bracelet and our own EMU robot (for gravitational support), providing his own unique perspective and insights on human augmentation through robotics.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has resigned most of us to be at home for the past couple of months, but that hasn’t stopped Ricardo, who recently delivered his Completion Seminar.
Ricardo’s work over the past 4 years has explored how kinematic synergies can used to control prostheses. Of particular interest, as he presented in his seminar, is a method for personalising these synergies to an individual in a time-efficient way, allowing this personalisation to occur within one clinical session.
It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of Michael Munforte – a student who had been working towards his PhD over the last couple of years. Michael passed away peacefully in his sleep in mid-November, after a long illness.
Michael himself was an amputee, with a dream to build a prothesis that he himself was satisfied with. He was a joy to be around, and an inspiration to all of us (see his article on The Importance of Distractions for a glimpse).