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Two BME undergraduate students received NC State Undergraduate Research Grants for the 2017-2018 school year.

Vibhavari Vempala, a senior in Dr. Helen Huang’s CLEAR lab, received the grant to continue her work on above-knee amputee trip recovery. Tripping is the number one cause of falls and amputees have higher incidence rates for fall-related injuries compared to other at-risk populations. Vibha will use her previously-validated, well-controlled trip platform to conduct a study in which she will investigate above-knee amputees’ response time (the time between a simulated trip and the onset of their muscle activity). Understanding how amputees recover from trips is important in order to develop more reliable trip-recovery strategies for prosthetics and rehabilitation.

Thomas “Jed” Doman, a senior in Dr. Helen Huang’s CLEAR lab, received a grant to continue his work with upper-limb amputee training. Advanced prostheses can be controlled by upper-limb amputees’ residual muscle activity with training, but current training via virtual reality is limited to 2-D environments. Jed will test whether or not amputees can manipulate a virtual prosthesis in a novel, 3-D virtual environment that offers better accuracy and precision than the traditional 2-D virtual environment. A 3-D virtual training environment is more realistic and comparable to the physical world, and it may allow upper-limb amputees greater control of their prosthesis.

Way to go, Vibha and Jed! We look forward to seeing the outcome of your studies!

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