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).
Rest in Peace, Michael – you will be missed.
The Summer School on Neurorehabilitation 2019 took place in Parador de Baiona (Spain) from 15th to 20th of September. Each day was dedicated to a certain topic: neuromodulation, clinical, prosthetics and students day and kicked off with 2 to 4 Keynote Speakers in the field. A great effort by the keynote speakers gave the auditorium an interesting insight in each field and advances of the last two decades as well as current and future challenges. The prosthetics day was particularly of great interest for our students Ricardo and Raphael listing to Antonio Bicchi and Dario Farina showing motor synergies as well as sEMG as a Neural Interface, before Levi Hargorove showed advances in active lower limb prosthetics and Oskar Aszmann gave an insight into plastic surgery and possible ways to tackle possible amputations to deliver the best outcome for the patient.
The social program brought the group to either the Cies Islands or Santiago de Compostela to spend some more time and network with the rest of the group of students and researchers. A final gala dinner once again delivered amazing food and a great atmosphere to continue interesting talks and finishing of the week.
From 23 – 27 July, Arvind and Raphael attended the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference (EMBC) in Berlin, Germany.
The theme this year was “Biomedical engineering ranging from wellness to intensive care”, where hundreds of papers were presented. Amongst those were Arvind’s paper titled “Integrated Force Sensor in a Cochlear Implant for Hearing Preservation Surgery”, and Raphael’s paper “Bone Conduction as Sensory Feedback Interface: A Preliminary Study”.
You can read more about both these projects in our Projects Page, and the publications themselves on the Publications Page.
Congratulations to Gijo, who won Best Student Paper at the recent IEEE Conference on Control and Automation (ICCA) in Edinburgh Scotland!
Gijo’s paper, “On the implementation of feedback-based PD-type iterative learning control for robotic manipulators with hard input constraints” introduced a strategy for introduce a ILC controller into systems which have limitations on their inputs – for example, robotic manipulators which have actuators unable to produce infinite torque (i.e. all actuators!).
Well done Gijo!
On the 25th of June we had a group of 15 girls from the Mount St Joseph Girls’ College for a lab tour. We started the tour with an introduction of the general aims of the research group, which was followed by splitting up into four groups to each get an introduction by each of the four stations.
Those stations presented the different projects in the lab, ranging from advanced prosthetic topics using virtual reality for synergistic control of upper limbs, 3D printed actuated hands, sensory feedback via bone conduction to rehabilitation topics presenting two different approaches for rehabilitation of stroke patients. The room was filled with interest in the research topics, loads of questions and laughs when trying each of the experiments.
It was great to share our research and we are looking forward to hopefully see some of the girls again in the future pursuing careers in engineering or academia!
Last week, Denny, Ying, Vincent and Justin travelled to Toronto to attend Rehabweek 2019.
Rehabweek brings together scientists, engineers and clinicians by combining a number of international conferences, including the International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR), the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society (IFESS), the International Neurorehabilitation Symposium (INRS) and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM). This multidisciplinary mix provides a great stage for interesting presentations and discussion in the areas of rehabilitative and assistive technologies.
Denny presented a talk at INRS discussing the differences in expectations between clinicians and engineers in rehabilitation robotics.
Justin presented at ICORR, on his work in the development of robotic strategies for changing how people move – motivated by a desire to improve movement quality in patients who move in potentially harmful ways.
An important and interesting theme of the conference was a discussion about the current roadblocks to the adoption of robotic rehabilitation devices to clinical practice – something which we are working strongly towards in our Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotic Project at the University of Melbourne & Fourier Intelligence Joint Laboratory.
Arvin recently presented his confirmation seminar, on his project titled “Application of optical fiber Bragg grating sneosrs in transverse force and pose detection in Cochlear Implants”.
Arvin is investigating how fiber Bragg gratings (FBGs) can be used as a tool to ensure that more Cochlear implants are done successfully, by providing surgeons with feedback during the insertion procedure to ensure that no damage is done to the inner ear.
Lab members Raphael and Ricardo last week attended the “AMP-ED Up!” National Amputee Conference in Canberra.
“AMP-ED Up!” brought together amputees, prosthetic manufacturing companies, assistive technology suppliers and a variety of other speakers to provide information and education from those in the sector.
Raphael and Ricardo set up a stand with Ricardo’s Virtual Reality Equipment and various prototypes and technologies from the Human Robotics Lab, allowing members of the public to learn more about the work we are doing here in the lab.
Today we officially welcome Associate Professor Ying Tan to the Department of Mechanical Engineering.
A/Prof Tan has moved across from Electrical Engineering, a move which will strengthen our connection with her and her research – if for no other reason than that she will be in the same building as us!
Yesterday we were proud to host representatives from the Aussie Hands Foundation – a local support group for people with hand differences.
Elizabeth Serpell, the Founder and Vice-President of Aussie Hands, and Julie McNally, the Victoria Representative, visited our laboratory to discuss the research we are performing in our Advanced Prosthetics Project
It is always a pleasure and privilege to be in touch with the potential real end-users of our research.