HuRo News

2020

March

  • Pre-print of our most recent study lead by Andria on training propulsion via belt accelerations now available here. Link to our tweet release:
  • Scenes from our first online group meeting on March 11th.

February

  • Congrats to Steve Buchanan who won the best poster award at the Henswear symposium!!! Way to go Steve!!!
  • Magic happening from our collaboration with Huantian Cao and Katie Ellis from Fashion and Apparel Studies.
  • Fabrizio presenting at the annual NSF NRI PI meeting in Arlington VA.
  • Our recent success with funding were recently featured in a very nice UDaily article.

January

  • Our lab received the first NIH grant, a 2-year R21 grant to develop a new technique to measure neural activity associated with long-latency responses elicited by robotic perturbations applied to the wrist. We’ll have a lot of fun combining robotics with fMRI with EMG to further our understanding of long-latency responses and of their neural substrates. This work is in collaboration with David Ress from the Baylor College of Medicine, and with Jules Dewald from Northwestern University.

  • Fabrizio received an NSF CAREER award to continue our research on the neuromechanics of human-robot interaction using MRI-compatible robots in combination with fMRI and muscle imaging (Link)

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2019

December

  • We welcome Rebecca and Haider who have matched in our lab after their rotations in their graduate programs. Rebecca is pursuing a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and will work with us on MRI-compatible robotics. Haider is pursuing a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and will work with us on wearable robotics.

October

  • We welcome Tyler, 1st year Biomedical Engineering graduate student who will be with us for a few weeks as part of BME’s graduate student rotation program.
  • We attended the BMES 2019 conference in Philadelphia, where Jacob and Maria presented their summer undergraduate research, and Andria presented an abstract on training propulsion during walking. Fun times and great networking with old and new friends.

September

  • We had a great time at the AHA Heart Walk in Wilmington on a beautiful end-of-summer day!!!

 

 

 

 

 

  • We welcome Margo and Rebecca, 1st year Biomedical Engineering graduate students who will be with us for a few weeks as part of BME’s graduate student rotation program.
  • We welcome Paria who has joined our lab to pursue her Masters of Science in the Biomechanics and Movement Sciences program at UD. Paria is a neurologist with interests in neuroimaging and motor learning and will work on using MRI-compatible robots to study post-stroke motor impairment and recovery.

August

  • We received another grant from the National Science Foundation!!! This grant is funded by the NSF M3X program (Semrau contact PI, Sergi, Medina, Kim co-PI) and will support four years of research on developing new human-robot interaction methods to study impairment in proprioception and vision post-stroke.

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  • Jordan, Maria, and Jacob presented their posters at the UD undergraduate symposium. Congrats to our amazing undergraduate students for accomplishing so much this summer.

July

  • We received a grant from the National Science Foundation (Sergi PI, Johnson co-PI) to develop a new technique, MM-MRE (Multi-Muscle Magnetic Resonance Elastography) that combines MRE with MRI-compatible robotics to estimate force from individual forearm muscles during isometric tasks. Within this 3-year project, we plan to develop and validate a new acquisition protocol for MRE, and to use the developed technique to test hypotheses of muscle coordination in healthy and post-stroke individuals. Our preliminary work leading to this grant is here.nsf4
  • We welcome Kaneel, Haider, and Diego, incoming graduate students who will start their graduate program in the Fall of 2019 at UD in biomedical and mechanical engineering. They will spend the rest of the summer with us as part of UD’s graduate student rotation program. Welcome Kaneel, Haider, and Diego!

June

  • ICORR was a lot of fun this year – our group had two oral presentations and three posters. Many insightful discussions and a lot of feedback received from fellow engineers and rehabilitation scientists, and great visibility for our research. We look forward to the next ICORR in the Netherlands!

April

  • Biomechanics never ends at UD. Andrea presented her poster at the Center for Biomechanical Engineering (CBER) annual symposium. Great discussion on our new protocol that trains propulsion during walking.
  • National Biomechanics Day in full swing at UD. Many great demonstrations throughout the University (here is a run through all the labs who participated), including some nice ones in our lab, featuring one of our protocols for studying motor control of the lower extremity, and one for the upper extremity. We look forward to the next year!
  • Andrea’s paper on using musculoskeletal models to estimate force of individual forearm muscles during isometric tasks has been accepted for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering – available here. Congrats Andrea!
  • No April’s fool this year! On April 1st, we received the notification that all of our five papers have been accepted for presentation at the upcoming ICORR conference, held in Toronto in June. Congrats Andrea, Andria, Robbie, for the great work. Look forward to presenting these results in Toronto in June.

March

  • Celebrating submission of ICORR papers at the HuRo happy hour!
  • Our recent paper on the effect of stride length on lower extremity joint moments at multiple speeds is now published on PLOS One. We’ve also made available the complete dataset of collected data in a shared online repository (Zenodo – available here). We support open Science!

February

  • Fabrizio presented our research in MRI-compatible robotics at the UD Neuroscience Symposium. Read here for more information about this event
  • Good times with our collaborator David Ress visiting from Houston. David is working with us on a collaborative project that involves the use of high-resolution brainstem fMRI to identify neural activity associated with stretch reflexes.
  • Andrea’s paper on using musculoskeletal models to estimate the wrist joint stiffness has been published by the ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. In this paper, we study how muscle redundancy at the wrist joint affords multiple muscle co-contraction options, and how these options can be exploited to modulate joint torque and stiffness. Congrats Andrea!

January

  • We welcome Steve Buchanan as a new graduate student working in our lab. Steve will work on cable-conduit actuation and their use in wearable robotics. Steve is returning to our lab as a graduate student after sharing with us the very first few months of the Human Robotics Lab in the Fall of 2015. Welcome back Steve!

2018

October

  • Our lab will be well represented at ICNR in Pisa this year. Andrea will present a poster titled “Model-based estimation of individual muscle force given an incomplete set of muscle activity measurements”, while Andria will give an oral presentation about her work on “The effects of force-field adaptation on neural activation and resting-state functional connectivity”, which will be part of special session 25 “Reshaping Perception and Action in Human-Machine Interfaces”. ICNR will be the ideal venue to catch up with our work, please look for Andrea and Andria and say hello!

September

  • Andrea’s paper “The effect of physiological and measurement noise on the estimate of individual muscle force from indirect measurements of muscle activity” is posted to biorxiv. Let us know what you think!

August

  • Fabrizio presented current research activities in the Human Robotics Lab at the MRS (Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Sciences) research day at Northwestern University. MRS research day was the last day of a full week of training on MRS research part of the IREK12 career development grant. Great environment, great place to visit.
  • Rachel Marbaker, HuRo summer intern, was selected to represent UD at the NSF REU symposium. Congrats Rachel!

July

  • Two abstracts were accepted for presentation at the upcoming International Conference on Neurorehabilitation (ICNR 2018), held in Pisa, Italy, in conjunction with the Wearable Robotics (WeRob) conference.

June

  • Welcome to Rachel Marbaker, summer intern and NSF-REU student from Lafayette University. Rachel will learn a lot about locomotor adaptation this summer, and will develop and test a new experimental protocol based on belt accelerations.
  • Welcome to Jordan Rampolla, a UD BME rising junior who will spend the summer in the HuRo Lab developing components for our MRI-compatible robots and helping with data collection for experiments involving wrist movements during exposure to force fields with our wrist exoskeletons.
  • We are thankful of receiving funding from the DE-CTR Accel program for a one-year pilot project on the development of StretchfMRI.

May

  • We had the honor of hosting Neville Hogan from MIT in our BME seminar.
  • Congratulations to Andy, who successfully defended his dissertation part of his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, titled “Model-based control of remote actuation based on cable-conduit transmissions”.
  • We participated to UD’s Center for Biomechanical Engineering Research (CBER) research symposium. Andrea gave a talk “Model-based estimation of individual muscle force from indirect measurements of muscle activity” on his modeling work, while Andria presented a poster “The neural correlates of motor adaptation to dynamic perturbations”.

 

March

  • Fabrizio and Andria attended the Haptics Symposium in San Francisco, CA. Fabrizio presented Andy’s paper on “Dynamic model of cable-conduit actuation for interaction with non-passive environments”, while Andria presented a work-in-progress paper on “The neural correlates of dynamic adaptation during wrist pointing”, where she presents the results of our first pilot study with the MR-SoftWrist and fMRI. Fabrizio served in the organizing committee, and Andria served as a student volunteer for the conference!

January

  • Andy’s paper “Dynamic model of cable-conduit actuation for interaction with non-passive environments” has been accepted for oral presentation at the IEEE Haptics Symposium that will take place in San Francisco, CA in March 2018. The pre-print is available here, as well as the supplementary video.

2017

November

  • Our research on MRI-compatible haptics was featured on RD Mag
  • Our undergraduate student Amanda Studnicki puts Delaware First on the court and in the world! Read the story part of the Delaware First campaign.
  • Andria presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington DC our recent study “The effect of split-belt treadmill training on functional connectivity within the cortico-thalamic-cerebellar network”, where we observe changes in resting state functional connectivity within the portico-thalamic-cerebellar network after one session of split-belt treadmill training in stroke population.
  • Fabrizio received a fellowship from the Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Engineering (IRE) K12 program, a NIH-sponsored program managed by Northwestern University and other affiliate institutions. This is a prestigious fellowship that will expose us to mentoring on how to make our engineering research even more relevant for neurorehabilitation.

September

  • Samantha and Mitch join the lab as undergraduate research assistants. They will work on two different aspects of a project involving the use of MRI-compatible robots and measurement of the reflex response to wrist perturbations. They join the group of five undergraduate students currently performing undergraduate research in the Human Robotics Lab.

August

  • Andria’s paper “Quantitative Testing of fMRI-compatibility of an Electrically Active Mechatronic Device for Robot-Assisted Sensorimotor Protocols” has been accepted for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering! This is an important methods paper that proposes solutions to tricky issues in testing fMRI-compatibility of robots for motor control neuroscience. Congratulations to Andria, Andrea, our collaborator at UD BME (Prof. Johnson), and our collaborators in Houston! pdf (pre-print)

July

  • Fabrizio received a “Scientist Development Grant” from the American Heart Association. This three-year grant will support our research on the neural correlates of robot-assisted motor learning, and on the use of neuroimaging to predict robot-aided recovery after stroke. We look forward to contributing to the mission of AHA “building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke”.
  • The manuscript “A Time-domain approach to control of series elastic actuators: adaptive torque and passivity-based impedance control”, that Fabrizio co-authored with collaborators at Rice University, has received the 2017 IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics Best Paper Award!! This is an amazing recognition for a much needed theoretical and technical contribution on controlling compliant actuators to display virtual environments.

June

  • Andria’s abstract, “The effect of split-belt treadmill training on functional connectivity within the cortico-thalamic-cerebellar network”, has been accepted for presentation in the nanosymposium “Cerebellum: Circuitry to Function” at the upcoming Society for Neuroscience 2017 conference that will be held in Washington, DC.
  • Alex Metz, a rising senior in our BMEG program, joins the Human Robotics Lab for a summer internship. He will work with us on remote cable-conduit actuation. Welcome Alex!
  • Emily Patterson, a rising junior at Louisiana State University, joins the Human Robotics Lab for her summer REU “Dare to BE FIRST” program. Emily will work with us to measure EMG signals during robotic perturbations. Welcome Emily!

May

  • Andrea’s abstract, “Using musculoskeletal models to estimate the passive joint stiffness”, has been accepted for presentation as a poster at the upcoming American Society for Biomechanics (ASB) conference that will be held in Boulder, CO.
  • Gemma graduates with a double degree in Mechanical Engineering and English literature. She is the first alumnus/a of our lab to move to a new academic research group, in the Haptics Intelligence department at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart, Germany. Auf wiedersehen, Gemma!
  • Our paper “Effects of assist-as-needed upper extremity robot therapy after incomplete spinal cord injury: a parallel-group controlled balanced trial” has been accepted for publication in Frontiers in Neurorobotics. Pre-print available here.

April

  • Robbie’s conference paper “Toward goal-oriented robotic gait training: the effect of gait speed and stride length on lower extremity joint torques” has been accepted for presentation as a poster at the upcoming International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics in London, UK.
  • Andrea and Andria presented their research at the North East Biomedical Engineering Conference (NEBEC) at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ. Andrea presented an electronic poster “Using musculosketal models to estimate the passive joint stiffness”, while Andria gave an oral presentation on “Determining the fMRI compatibility of an electrically active robot”. Congratulations to both!!!

February

  • Also this year, our lab is part of the NSF REU on biomechanics “Dare to BE FIRST”. Interested candidates are invited to apply by the deadline of February 15th.
  • Our lab is featured in full glory in the 360 video playlist that includes all research lab at UD in the STAR campus. Video here (it requires a browser capable of 360 video playback).

January

  • We welcome two new undergraduate students, Amanda Studnicki, and Andrew Dirks, both juniors in the BME program.

2016

December

  • Our paper “Kinesthetic Feedback During 2DOF Wrist Movements via a Novel MR-Compatible Robot” has been accepted for publication in the IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. Pre-print available here.
  • The HuRo lab grows: we welcome new students Andria J. Farrens and Robert L. McGrath, both BME graduate students.

October

  • Article on UDaily featuring our research on robotic gait training.

August

  • Our National Robotics Initiative grant application was funded by the National Science Foundation! More information here!!! We are excited to start this new adventure on robot-aided locomotor learning for neurorehabilitation.

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  • During the Olympic games in Rio, Andrea bore the flag of the HuRo Lab at the IEEE EMBC conference in Orlando, Florida. He presented a poster titled “Optimal Design of Cable Differential Actuation for 2-DOF Wrist Robots: Effect of Joint Misalignments on Interaction Forces” (paper here). This is the first research product of the HuRo lab presented outside of UD — quite an achievement! Congrats Andrea!
  • Many things happening with the summer wrapping up in the Human Robotics Lab. HuRo undergrads present their poster on their summer research at the University of Delaware Summer Undergrad Research Symposium. Meggie Pires-Fernandez (left) presented her poster on “Effects of speed and stride length on joint torque distribution in normal gait”; Gemma Ciabattoni (center) presented a poster on “Developing a backdrivable wrist robot: investigating a co-located and non co-located design and implementation”; Elspeth presented her poster on “Testing MR-compatibility of the MR-SoftWrist”. It was fantastic to get the team up and running for the first summer of human robotics research, and we made sure to celebrate with a group picture!

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July

  • We thank the University of Delaware Research Foundation for supporting our research on MR-compatible haptics with a one year award. To many more to come! 🙂

June

  • We welcome our latest summer undergraduate researcher, Elaida Dimwamwa, from the University of Pennsylvania, who will spend a few weeks in our lab during the summer for research in hand/wrist synergies.
  • Our first summer group meeting was held at the Lums Pond State Park and included grilling, soccer and way too much food! We’ll repeat to celebrate the end of the summer.

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  • We welcome our two new students, Margaret Pires-Fernandes from the University of Florida, and Elspeth Grasso from the University of Delaware, who joined the Human Robotics Lab to do research this summer. Welcome Meggie and Elspeth!

May

  • The abstract “Optimal design of cable differential actuation for 2-DOF wrist robots: effect of joint misalignments on interaction force”, authored by Andrea and Fabrizio, has been accepted to the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference (EMBC) 2016, held in Orlando FL in August. We are excited to have our first paper accepted, and we are happy to present our research in Orlando later this summer!

April

  • Congratulations to Gemma Ciabattoni for receiving the DRI Summer Scholar Fellowship! Gemma will continue her undergraduate research in the HuRo Lab throughout the summer.
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  • Andrea presents his first poster at the UD Center for Biomedical Engineering Research (CBER) symposium. The title is “Model-based estimation of the passive stiffness of the wrist”. Congratulations, Andrea!
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  • The HuRo Lab participated in the National Biomechanics day hosting visits of students from local middle and high schools. While playing with human-interacting robots was fun, the visiting students appreciated the complexity of the formulas involved computation of task-space stiffness for musculoskeletal models! We will seek authorization to publish the unblurred version of the pictures, and demonstrate that those are actually high school students.IMG_6483 (1)

February

  • We showcased our MR-compatible robot during the in-house community outreach cook-off initiative. Andrea and the robot performed greatly on the stage with a superb demo showing the capabilities of kinesthetic feedback during pointing!

January

  • Andrea Zonnino joins the lab as research assistant. Welcome Andrea!
  • Andrew Borowski joins the lab as graduate student. Welcome Andrew!
  • Gemma Ciabattoni joins the lab as undergraduate student to pursue research in motion capture of hand-wrist pointing. Welcome Gemma!

2015
December

  • Lab renovation completed!

November

  • Fabrizio gave a seminar talk at the Systems and Information Engineering Department of the University of Virginia – great place and people to visit.

October

  • Fabrizio gave a seminar talk at the Mechanical Engineering Department seminar at the University of Delaware – a great robotics community is growing around here!

September

  • The HuRo Lab welcomes Mike Furr and Stephen Buchanan, the first undergraduate students in the lab to pursue research in MR-compatible haptics and gait rehabilitation robotics.

August

  • Some very good news to start off the HuRo news section!!! Our research on MR-compatible haptics was very popular at the ICORR conference in Singapore last week. The paper “Development, Control, and MRI-Compatibility of the MR-SoftWrist”, where Fabrizio is senior and corresponding author won the Best Student Paper Award. This award is shared with Andrew Erwin, Marcia K. O’Malley and David Ress, our excellent collaborators in Houston who co-authored this paper.
    The MR-SoftWrist and its MR-compatible relatives are very proud of the accomplishment; they transferred nicely to the HuRo lab and are ready to be part of the next iteration of human studies.
  • The HuRo website is up and running – more contents to come
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