Neurobionics Lab

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.

June 2021

Congratulations to Dr. Kim Ingraham who successfully defended her dissertation this month! She graduated with her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Great job Kim!

Dr. Rouse’s paper “Summary of Human Ankle Mechanical Impedance During Walking” received the 2nd Prize in the 2021 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Prize Paper Award.

Dr. Rouse presented at a symposium for Mexico’s National Institute of Rehabilitation.

May 2021

Dr. Rouse was invited to speak at the International Electric Machines and Motor Drivers Conference. He presented and participated in a panel entitled “Motor Drives for Robotics and Industrial Automation”.

April 2021

Dr. Rouse presented a talk on medical robotics at WearRAcon 2021. This conference, organized by the Wearable Robotics Association, brings together leaders of industry, academia, government and medicine to discuss the latest in wearable robotics technology.

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