New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
In biomedical engineering curricula, courses on brain function are common. Specifically, these courses cover how brain function affects coordination and how motor, sensory, and cognitive deficits affect the lives of individuals with neurological disorders. Yet, educators develop and deliver lectures using visual and auditory material. However, visual and auditory stimuli are not the only means for learning, especially when studying the control of human movements. Kinesthetic learning is the process of acquiring and processing information by physically interacting with the environment. Instruction that stimulates more than auditory and visual learning is more likely to enhance learning in a heterogeneous student population. Haptic robotic equipment is a valuable tool to present the students with kinesthetic learning opportunities. By means of a haptic manipulandum and a virtual reality system, we developed a laboratory experience for undergraduate biomedical engineering students.
First, the students completed an assignment before performing the laboratory experiment. Each student wrote a custom Matlab (MathWorksInc.,Natick,MA) code for post-processing of the data. Second, a robotic manipulator was utilized to measure sensorimotor function during a guided reaching task. To measure sensorimotor function, students used a Kinarm robot to move a handle from a central point to more distal points as they lit up on a virtual reality screen. The robotic device measured the trajectory of the hand as it moved from the central point to the indicated distal point. This test was done for each hand of each student. Then, students used the custom code from the pre-laboratory assignment to calculate the total length of the path the hand traveled. Finally, each student wrote a laboratory report in a journal article type format to present and interpret the findings of the experiment.
In conclusion, XX University is one of the few universities in the United States to develop a laboratory experience utilizing haptic robotics for biomedical engineering undergraduate students. The experience served two main purposes: (1) to introduce students to measurements of sensorimotor function via haptic robotic technology, and (2) to give them experience is presenting this data in a cohesive article type report. Both of which will help these students become successful engineers in academics and/or industry.
Schmitz, A., & Vernaza, K. M., & Piovesan, D. (2016, June), Work in Progress: Haptic Robotics in Biomedical Education Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27013
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