Weeks 7-8 (S3)
As the mid-semester slump is setting in for most RIT students, our researchers are working right on schedule and picking up speed as we heads towards Maker Faire.
We have a few general updates at this time. This Friday (November 1st), team photographer, Emily Bishop, will be taking headshots for all researchers to be used on the new NXT website and for their own personal LinkedIn and social accounts (should they chose to use them). Performance reviews were due last Sunday and discussed at the leads meeting. Overall everyone is doing very well. In the future, the review templates have been revised to better reflect work ethic. The University of Rochester members had their first meeting today. The formation of the team is in the process of organization. Coming up, the informal NXT Hackathon is the first Saturday in November from 12pm to 8pm.
The Wheelchair Team, led by Adam Del Russo, welcomed three new members— two University of Rochester students who will work on machine learning, and one RIT mechanical engineering student who will be working on the joystick manipulator. The team held a workshop recreating the MILO Brain Controlled Wheelchair Project [1st place winners of the NeuroTechX “Open Challenge” – Milo, the brain-controlled wheelchair, developed by 35 students at McGill University, https://neurotechx.com/milo-brain-controlled-wheelchair-1st-place-winners/]. Despite running into issues with coding, this was a great learning experience for the team to start working with motor imagery data. While a fantastic starting point, the MILO system's accuracy was too low in our testing to be usable. We hope that the data collected from the human subject research will allow us to create a more accurate and more robust system. In the mean time, the team has shifted their focus onto making a control system for persons with quadriplegia (persons who still have use of their neck and facial muscles. By Maker Faire, they are planning to have an adaptable system that can drive the wheelchair using head tilts, jaw-clenches and eye blinks.
The Assistive Games Team, led by Niko Procopi, has integrated Vulkan support into their game, in addition to OpenGL and DirectX 12. Vulkan supports close-to-metal control enabling faster performance and better image quality across various operating systems. They are now planning to add collisions to the game to make them more realistic.
The Fabric Textile Electrodes Team, led by Reid Kovacs, has created a band prototype developed for fabric electrodes (to be put in clothes). Demo boards for muscle signal sensing are out for review. For the Maker Faire, the team is creating a more developed version of their project from Imagine RIT.
The Prosthetics Team, led by Brian Siskind and George Stollsteimer, has begun the printing process for the InMoov arm. There was some difficulty using the Prusa Multi-material; tweaking belt tensions of the extruding head is required. Design specifications for the arm were determined for sub-teams. The forearm and wrist team has created a WIP design on how to do pronation and superpronation; the design is being created using CAD mechanical software. The fingers team are creating design mock-ups of various possible movement designs. They are also in the process of construction and merging of linkage system and new CAD files. Palm and thumb team has jointed the fingers and hollowed out the hand.
In preparation for the human subject research, Forrest Shooster of Argzero technologies is creating a tutorial series on how to use live bio data in machine learning. We are currently using heart rate data for this tutorial.
University of Rochester Collaboration
At this point in time, 8 U of R students have joined NXT as participants. They have been to this point working on existing teams and helping in preparation for human subject research (those that have gone through the RIT certification process). Additionally, this group had its first official meeting at the U of R this past Sunday. At the meeting we talked about how we can expand NXT to U of R to continue to provide undergraduate research opportunities and increase the scope of NXT's work.
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 Hackathon and monthlyt update meeting goes!