Twelve groups of inven­tive seniors in mechan­ical engi­neering at North­eastern showed the best of their cre­ative work last week, in an annual pre­sen­ta­tion of senior cap­stone projects that high­light cre­ative innovations.

Among the most inter­esting? Hands down, it was the glove.

A team of under­grad­u­ates devel­oped a glove designed to help stroke patients regain fine motor skills in their hands, for­mally known as the Angle Tracking and Loca­tion at Home System (ATLAS) bimanual reha­bil­i­ta­tion glove.

Pro­fessor of Mechan­ical and Indus­trial Engi­neering Con­stan­tinos Mavroidis, Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Phys­ical Therapy Mau­reen Holden and doc­toral stu­dent Mark Sivak advised the team on their project.
The project sought to offer real-​​world solu­tions to a reha­bil­i­ta­tion chal­lenge, and did so by com­bining the knowl­edge and tal­ents of phys­ical ther­a­pists and engi­neers, said Holden.

In this project we were trying to develop a low-​​cost virtual-​​environment based glove system that can be used for motor retraining of the arm, hand, fin­gers and thumb in patients who have suf­fered a stroke,” Holden said. “The idea … is to keep the cost low enough and the fea­tures simple enough that patients can afford to buy one and use it inde­pen­dently in their homes.”

Sivak noted that stroke patients often couldn’t con­tinue with phys­ical therapy, either because they can’t drive to the loca­tion or it’s too expen­sive. “With the glove, the idea is to create an afford­able, at-​​home mech­a­nism to help them regain fine motor skills.”

It works through a series of sen­sors to pro­vide resis­tance in hand exer­cises. The glove is wired to a com­puter, which dis­plays vir­tual reality games that sync to hand exer­cises, Sivak said, explaining that the games add an ele­ment of fun to the therapy.

The stu­dents on the project team included Jason Chrisos, Caitlyn Bintz, Drew Lentz, Andrew Clark and Avi Bajpai.

Mavroidis, director of the Bio­med­ical Mecha­tronics Lab­o­ra­tory at North­eastern, said that the annual cap­stone demon­stra­tion is a vital cul­mi­na­tion of the under­grad­uate mechan­ical engi­neering pro­gram, and a great oppor­tu­nity for engi­neering stu­dents to interact with one another and across dis­ci­plines in the name of innovation.