Sunday, October 20, 2013

URSP Student Katie McDonald Researches Design and Fabrication of Ultrasound Probe Stabilization Cuff for Upper Extremity Prosthetic Control Research

      I have always been very interested in prosthetics and prosthetic design. The project that I am currently working on is to advance the sensing- and control-strategies used in upper extremity prosthetics, my means of ultrasound imaging. We are hoping to minimize the inefficiencies brought about by EMG movement recognition, which is currently the most widely used sensing strategy for prosthetics. After graduating, I would love to contribute to the efforts of making prosthetics more financially accessible to those in need as they are extremely expensive, and, in most cases, patients need more than one device to serve different needs. 

     Most days when my team meets at the lab, we first go over what we’re hoping to accomplish together for that day. Since we all have different schedules, we usually can only work together for a few hours at a time throughout the week, trying to be as efficient as possible. Currently, we are in a heavy data collection cycle. My teammates are refining the computer algorithms in order to have the most accurate data processing, while my main objective has been to collect as much data as possible. In order to have consistent data from each subject, the ultrasound probe needs to be in the exact same location of the forearm, and have little to no external movement or shifting from the desired location.

     Earlier in the semester, I designed and fabricated a cuff in hopes to stabilize the probe, reduce the noise generated by movement and vibration before the cuff was used, and to position the probe in a consistent location with slight adjusting between subjects. I am currently collecting the data necessary to test the efficacy of the probe, and hope to have some quantitative data by the end of the semester!