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Biomechanics of Wearable Assistive Devices

Primary Investigators:
Prof. Karl Zelik
 
Brief Description of Project:
Wearable assistive devices such as exoskeletons, prostheses and smart clothing offer exciting potential to improve well-being for individuals with physical disabilities, and to augment healthy human performance. We are interested in how wearable technologies (both robotic and passive) can be optimally integrated with the human body to assist movement and/or monitor musculoskeletal health. The summer student will contribute to multidisciplinary research project(s) at the intersection of human movement biomechanics and wearable assistive devices to help advance our understanding of how to design and evaluate these technologies.

Desired Qualifications:
We are interested in highly-motivated, curious, resourceful, enthusiastic, responsible and independent individuals. Student should be comfortable with Matlab, and ideally have experience with robotics and/or biomechanics. He/she should be prepared to learn new software packages and additional skills (e.g., related to signal processing or electronics) needed to complete the project(s).
 
Nature of Supervision:
Due to the open-ended nature of research it is very different than typical academic courses. You will not be told exactly what to do each day, but you are expected to be self-driven, sustain progress on your project and incorporate feedback from Prof. Zelik and the PhD students in the lab. You will be responsible for your own sub-project, but you will also work in a collaborative environment with other undergraduate and graduate students, and you will likely assist with other experiments in lab. You will meet with Prof. Zelik at least once per week, and you will participate in our weekly lab meetings. The purpose of lab meeting is to have an inclusive discussion about ongoing research and design projects, to share ideas, disseminate lab information, practice communication skills, cultivate critical thinking and learning, practice team problem-solving and maximize the success of all projects by combining the diverse skills/experience of all lab members (both graduate and undergraduate). You are not expected to have field-specific research knowledge when you enter the lab, but you are expected to be independent, resourceful, curious and to learn what you need to know for your project. For additional details on the undergraduate research experience and expectations please visit our lab website: my.vanderbilt.edu/batlab/joining/
 
A Brief Research Plan (period is for 10 weeks):
Weeks 1: Read background literature, learn about devices and measurement equipment
Weeks 2-5: Assist with experiments, and/or device instrumentation and control
Weeks 5-7: Refine testing protocol, perform full experimental data collections
Weeks 7-10: Analyze results, finalize/report findings 

Number of Open Slots: 1
 
Contact Information:
Name: Karl Zelik
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: karl.zelik@vanderbilt.edu