Neurobionics Lab

April – May 2024

Congratulations to PhD student Nundini Rawal for passing the Mechanical Engineering qualifying exam. Great work, Nundini!

The lab welcomed a few new faces: Andrea Berettoni, a visiting Ph.D. student from Polytechnic University of Turin and Rehab Technologies INAIL-IIT laboratory at the Italian Institute of Technology, as well as the following student interns: Elissa Cimino and John Kotarski. Welcome, all!

In May, several members of the lab attended the Dynamic Walking conference in Pensacola, Florida to present their work.

The latest version of our Raspberry Pi Imaging Tool has been released!

Robot builders: If you develop using a Raspberry Pi to control your robots, we’ve made getting these systems up and running super easy. This is for people who use the RPi as a microprocessor and connect remotely from your PC.

Using our tool, you can build an RPi OS image that will automatically connect to known wifi networks and email you its IP address to SSH. If no known networks are available, it falls back to an access point with a static IP. It can connect to school / enterprise wifi networks, and log in automatically using encrypted credentials. All info on how to build using this tool is provided in the documentation, and it works with the RPi v4 and v5.

We’re sharing it to help people get started building robots!

January – March 2024

In January, PhD student Kevin Best received the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement. Way to go, Kevin!

In March, PhD student Emily Bywater was awarded an NIH F31 Fellowship. Congratulations, Emily!

This quarter, the lab welcomed a few new students: Paola Rioja, a PhD student in the Mechanical Engineering department; Megan Giacobetti, an undergraduate student in the Mechanical Engineering department; Soham Chowdhury, a visiting scholar from Delft University of Technology. Welcome, all!

2023 Year in Review

The Lab has been busy since our last update!

Congratulations to Dr. Yves Nazon who successfully defended his PhD this month! Great work Yves; we will miss you!

MS student Nicholas Pett was awarded the 2023 University of Michigan Mirsky Fellowship for outstanding research and academic achievement by a Mechanical Engineering Master’s student. Congratulations Nicholas!

PhD student Emily Bywater’s NIH NSRA F31 fellowship application scored in the 13th percentile. Congratulations Emily!

The Lab attended IROS 2023 in Detroit this October. Several members presented their work:
Emily Bywater presented her work titled ‘Investigations into Customizing Bilateral Ankle Exoskeletons to Increase Vertical Jumping Performance’, Nundini Rawal presented her work titled ‘A Sensitivity Analysis of an Economic Value Metric for Quantifying the Success of Lower-Limb Exoskeletons and Their Assistance’, Dr. Leo Medrano (former Neurobionics member) presented his work titled ‘Real-Time Gait Phase and Task Estimation for Controlling a Powered Ankle Exoskeleton on Extremely Uneven Terrain’. More information about the conference presentations and publications can be found here.

PhD student Nikko Van Crey was awarded second place in the Best Student Paper awards at ICORR 2023 in Singapore this September, with his submission titled ‘Design of a Quasi-Passive Ankle-Foot Orthosis with Customizable, Variable Stiffness’. Congratulations, Nikko!

PhD student Zach Bons was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award this fall through summer 2026. His paper titled ‘A Compact, Two-Part Torsion Spring Architecture’ was a finalist for Best Paper in Mechanisms and Design at ICRA 2023. Congratulations Zach!

We would like to welcome Nana Porter-Honicky, Ellie Wilson, and Anushka Rathi as the Lab’s newest PhD students, who joined in August 2023. Lab MS student Nundini Rawal is also continuing her studies as a PhD student as of fall 2023.

Dr. Rouse was awarded the Henry Russel Award in July 2023, which is the University of Michigan’s highest honor for early or mid-career faculty members. You can read the press release here. Congratulations, Dr. Rouse!

This June, PhD students Emily Bywater and Riley Pieper and MS students Nicholas Pett and Nundini Rawal joined Dr. Rouse at the Summer School on Neurorehabilitation in Baiona, Spain (SSNR 2023) to share their research and host a workshop to demo the Open Source Leg. More information about this program can be found here.

We have two new staff additions to the Lab. Laksh Punith is a postdoctoral researcher who graduated from Georgia Tech, where he obtained his PhD in Robotics working with Greg Sawicki. Emily Klinkman is a research engineer/lab manager with a background in human biomechanics.

Last but certainly not least, the Lab had three grants funded this year:
* NIH R01 Functional Implications of Stroke and Botulinum Neurotoxin on Ankle Stiffness and Viscosity During Gait (Co-Investigator with Dr. Chandramouli Krishnan)
* NIH R01 Controlling Locomotion over Continuously Varying Activities for Agile Powered Prosthetic Legs (Co-Investigator with Dr. Robert Gregg)
* DoD CDMRP Musculoskeletal Injury Risk due to the Prolonged Use of Exoskeleton Boots on Inclined Surfaces MO240001

In 2023, multiple new papers were published–check out our publications here!

August 2022

The Lab had a great time hosting the Detroit chapter of The Hidden Genius Project on campus in late August. This national organization trains and mentors Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills. The young men were able to try on different types of exoskeletons, interact with a robotic hand, and learn about the lab’s research tools. Check out a video of the day here!

The Lab also hosted a group of 20 students as a part of WISE GISE, a summer camp focused on providing hand-on STEM experience for rising 7th and 8th graders. The students were able to try out EMG sensors, wear exoskeletons, and interact with the lab’s motion capture system.

We would like to welcome Japman Gill and Nick Pett as the Lab’s newest PhD and Master’s students, respectively!

Dr. Rouse and PhD student Leo Medrano attended BioRob 2022 in Seoul, Korea. Leo presented his work on using Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) to estimate gait states for exoskeleton control.

July 2022

Congrats to Master’s students Shengwen Liu and Mo Miro who both graduated with Masters’ in Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan!

Dr. Rouse went on the Builder Nation podcast and spoke about his previous work on a bionic ankle prosthesis and the lab’s current direction. Listen here!

June 2022

Congratulations to Dr. Ung Hee Lee who successfully defended his PhD this month! Great job Ung Hee; we will miss you!

PhD student’s Yves Nazon and Riley Pieper presented the lab’s work on ankle exoskeletons at Amazon’s re:MARS conference including running a live demo where conferencegoers were able to wear and adjust the assistance settings of the Dephy Ankle ExoBoots. Their presentation was also listed in “6 cool things we saw at re:MARS2022” which can be read here.

Dr. Rouse along with PhD students Nikko Van Crey, Kevin Best, Zach Bons, Emily Bywater, and Riley Pieper, Masters students Varun Shetty and Nundini Rawal, and research assistant Senthur Raj attended Dynamic Walking in Madison, WI. The lab members presented on a variety of topics including preference in loop optimization, spring design, and jump augmentation using ankle exoskeletons. Presentations can be found here. Great job everyone!

February 2022

Yves Nazon II, one of the Lab’s PhD students, contributed to an article in ASME concerning his involvement in lowering barriers to entry for BIPOC STEM students. Read more about Yves work as the student co-lead on the Black in Robotics (BiR) national board and how BiR is working to advocate for increased diversity among STEM students here.

The Neurobionics Lab’s intellectual property was licensed by (Google) X.

December 2021

Humotech will begin selling the Open Source Leg allowing researchers to purchase a pre-assembled version with additional technical support! This partnership with Humotech aims to reduce the barrier to entry for researchers who would like to utilize the OSL without having to build their own. Read more about here.

Dr. Rouse presented on the Neurobionics Lab’s research at MIT as a part of their Mechanical Engineering Department’s Colloquium.

August 2021

We would like to welcome the newest members of the Neurobionics Lab!

PhD Students: Zach Bons (Mechanical Engineering), Emily Bywater (Mechanical Engineering), Chris Nesler (Robotics), and Riley Pieper (Robotics)

Master’s Students: Nundini Rawal (Mechanical Engineering)

Over the summer, multiple new papers were published–check out our publications here.

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