These last two weeks have been, comparatively, very relaxed for us. Team leads decided to slow our production after a long period of accelerated growth. We want to keep the researchers engaged with the project, and thus do not want to add extra stress before finals. The primary goal for the rest of the semester is to prepare the team for the Spring and rollout a new management structure.
NXT recognizes the time and dedication its researchers and participants have put towards the first semester of this research project. As such, leadership has halted most research activities for the rest of the semester to be resumed after Winter break.
We have however been undergoing major structural changes to the organization to ensure continued success. These changes came about because the team leads want the project to outlive them at RIT, so it is essential to build a more sustainable model.
The new plan splits our efforts into 3 main segments: accessibility, special interest, and research. Within each of these categories there may be several projects. Each project will hold its own weekly meetings (which will replace current meetings that are organized by discipline), have its own leadership team, and oversee its own goals and objectives. All of this of course will of course be under the guidance and directive of the executive leads, Colin Fausnaught and Harrison Canning, but this structure is intended to give researchers more freedom and create creativity.
Project leads will be responsible for running these weekly project meetings as well as keeping executive leads informed of their progress and any challenge areas.
Accessibility projects are currently the biggest push for NXT. They will include larger multidisciplinary teams and will focus on building a final product. Each team will go through 4 iterations with set goals at each one. These projects will often take several semesters to complete.
EMGo - Hands-free Wheelchair Controller Box
A 4-channel standardized wheelchair controller box that allows the user to control his/her wheelchair using facial muscles
Thought Keyboard - EEG / EMG / Eye-tracking based typing and mouse control
This is the biggest undertaking in NXT; creating a keyboard and mouse that you can operate with your brain. The project will incorporate members from research, hardware dev, and machine learning specializations.
Eye-Tracker Mouse - EMG / Eye-tracking mouse system
We will add in an EMG click function it already existing eye-tracking technology to dramatically increase usability.
Prosthetics - Affordable EMG / EEG controlled prosthetic devices
Constant with our vision to restore mobility and communication, this project is looking to build two versions of EMG prosthetic arms. The first will be under $100 in total cost and above 90% accurate with one mode of control. The second will work to give users individual finger control based off of signals picked up from neurons in the arm.
Seizure Monitor for the CHC Learning Center
We will take existing technology and make it cheaper and thus more accessible.
Pop-up projects that will show off our technology. These projects will be proposed by researchers and quick 'special teams' will be put together.
EMG / EEG Game Controller - Rehabilitation EEG/EMG game controller
This team is focused on building a game controller that works with muscles patients need to use during rehab. Imagine coming back from a leg injury and needing to move your leg over and over again in a specific motion to recovery. Not fun! Instead, we will make those movements trigger an action, like Mario jumping!
Many researchers have expressed a desire to work on some robotics projects.
One researcher is putting together a team to allow us to create our own board, greatly reducing our costs.
Fabric Electrodes threaded EMG electrodes in clothing
We are breaking new ground by creating comfortable electrodes that integrate directly into clothing. As this is new research, we will be publishing a final research paper on our findings. This will be a small team of researchers that will work under the research wing. This technology will later be applied to many of our other projects
Machine Learning Research
We have a team of researchers passionate about machine learning. This team will often be absorbed and dispersed into other teams when machine learning help is needed.
Research Review Papers
NXT plans on making a big push to writing research review papers. There is a team of 4 researchers preparing for this task. We hope that this will advance our knowledge and our reputation in the space.
For more information on the restructuring and a summary of the semester, I highly recommend that you take a look through the slideshow we delivered to the team below.
This will be the last bi-weekly report for this semester but we will be producing a more formal report by the start of the Spring semester.
This Period's Accomplishments & Events
Call with Open BCI CEO, Connor Russomanno, to discuss future collaboration (11/27)
Harrison, Executive Lead, accepted as a speaker for RIT's TEDx event in February 2019 (11/29)
New management structure finalized (12/1)
Whole organization recap meeting (Link) (12/2)