RISE:2013 highlights: Kinect rehab, Lego lobsters, 3D printed tech and more

By Brian Heater
reposted from engadget

We were excited and honored when the administration at Northeastern University asked us to help judge its RISE:2013 Research, Innovation and Scholarship Expo. The event, held at the physical education center on the school’s Boston campus, brings together an incredibly diverse array of research projects covering a impressive number of fields, including physical and life sciences, engineering, humanities, arts & design, computer and information sciences, health sciences, law, business and social sciences.

As you might imagine, scoring works across such a diverse array of concentrations is no easy task. We did, however, manage to pull out a handful of projects that will no doubt be of particular interest to our own readership. The list includes the use of a Kinect camera and PC for physical rehabilitation, the 3D printing of embedded electrical technologies, a Lego set that helps bridge the gap between crustacean and robot and a device that employs an Arduino board and video games to help stroke victims recover motor skills. Check out a video of all of the above just after the break.

Physical rehabilitation was the focus of many of the in-house projects, each taking a decidedly different approach to getting patients back on their feet. Two projects in particular lept out at us. First up was the Virtual Rehabilitation System, presented by Meghan Huber, a student we had spoken with during our last visit to the school. The project utilizes Mathworks’ MATLAB software and a Microsoft Kinect camera to capture real-time data for rehabilitation analysis. Unlike standard systems, this setup is affordable enough for home usage — it also collects data on a wider range of motion, making it adaptable for different needs.

RISE2013 hightlights Kinect rehab, Lego lobsters, 3D printed embedded tech and more

The Navigator, meanwhile, is an Arduino-based desktop system that monitors hand movements with a pivoting, squeezable handle. The system will be tied to customized games to reward the patient and help stave off boredom. Another project utilized an off-the-shelf Lego system built to resemble a lobster. Comparing its habits to its real world analog, researchers can learn something about the behavior of the animal and can further the robot to mimic real-world biology. 3-Spark’s project, meanwhile, is looking to 3D print embedded electronics, using technology similar to consumer-facing extrusion units to print circuitry directly into ABS plastic molds. The result is a single unit with conductive electrical properties.

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