Weeks 11-12(S3)

These two weeks have been all about getting ready for the 2019 Rochester Maker Faire. We have been all hands on deck, putting the finishing touches our demos.

Maker Faire:

The Rochester Maker Faire (November 22nd-23rd) was our biggest event of the semester! The faire drew over 150 makers and 4,000 attendees! As such, it was a great opportunity for us share our research and generate new interest into neurotechnology.

A young maker sees his brainwaves on display!

Adviser, Gary Mendola, inquires about some last minute prototyping done behind the scenes

Former RIT President, William Destler, stops by the booth to see a live EMG tutorial

We built our demonstrations to be engaging and educational, showing off the underlying bio sensing technology that we have been working on.

As always, just showing people their 'thoughts' in the OpenBCI GUI EEG montage is a big hit that is sure to draw in a crowd. In addition to this however, we showed off many technologies of our own:

The Wheelchair Team showed off their new control system designed for use for persons with paraplegia. The chair was driven by a joystick manipulator that received accelerator (head tilt) and EMG (brow furrow) data from the head set to start, stop, and steer the wheelchair (seen in figure 1). Why build a device that manipulates the joystick as opposed to integrating into the wheelchair's electronics directly (trust me, this would have been much easier)? Because we are thinking about usability. The joystick is largely standardized across electric wheelchairs while the internals are not. It would be much easier and cheaper to build a box that can adapt to any wheelchair than to manufacturer our technology directly into them. Expect a video coming soon demonstrating this in action!

The Prothetics Team showed off basic myoelectric control of the InMoov arm. The hand showed single channel response to a coordinated muscle action by the user. They also spoke to interested attendees about their new arm designs which will be printed in the coming weeks.

The Fabrics Team was eager to introduce several new boards and EMG sensing technologies. The first of which was an EMG demo board (pictured below in figure 2). The demo board is a cheap $10 device that teaches kids and adults alike about how to pickup and use electrical signals in the body. Without the addition of electrodes or paste, the board can be placed on any muscle group on the body. When the user flexes, a little LED snaps on, showing signal pickup. To further demonstrate how EMG signals can be detected and used, the team connected some other EMG boards to the controllers for some little RC cars. This allowed kids at Maker Faire to race around a track agaist our researchers using just the muscles in their arms! Finally, they also demonstrated working fabric electrodes on NXT developed biosensing boards! You can read more about their research from the trifold display file shown below.

(Figure 1) Project Lead, Adam Del Rosso, demonstrating the wheelchair control system

(figure 2) front and back of the EMG demo boards

A young crowd gathers to see a demonstration of the prosthetic arm!

Trifold poster detailing the work of the Fabrics Team

Maker Fair Poster

Team Updates:

The Brain Controlled Video Game Team, led by Niko Procopi, has made their project accessible on the Golisano lab computers so that work can be done outside of the NXT lab.

The Fabric Textile Electrodes Team, led by Reid Kovacs, recently finished the RC car demo and cleaned up the fabric sleeve demo in preparation for Maker Faire. The previous version of EMG board and a few off-the-shelf EMG boards were used. In order to allow things to run more smoothly during demos, a more compact and robust version of the system could be used. The PCBs and demo boards arrived just in time for the Maker Faire. The other boards will get populated over Thanksgiving break (November 27th- December 1st) or the following week. In addition, there are plans to make more fabric sleeves that are permanent (at least 4).

The Thought-Controlled Keyboard Team, led by Brenton Cousins, has created a visual Mock Up of our Radial Keyboard design. The next steps include the actual placing of characters into text box's (like address bars in web browsers) and the implementation of the machine learning code that translates the thoughts into usable data.

The Content Team, led by Content Manager Emily Bishop, has some updates about the website. All leads have been added to a team drive titled “NXT Website”—there are folders for each team where leads will add a document with project photo, a project description, the lead’s bio and researchers’ bios, headshots, link any documents, and add any other relevant information for the team’s page.

That is all for this period but you can be sure to catch the next update in two weeks! We will be excited to report on how the Maker Faire goes! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Written by Emily Bishop and Harrison Canning