Posts Tagged ‘MIT’

SUNY Canton Mechatronics Research Takes Second at MIT Scientific Conference

Thursday, November 14th, 2019

A SUNY Canton Mechatronics major is designing a revolutionary knee brace that may help about 20 percent of the population walk easier. 

Maelea M. Mercado of Jefferson recently took second place for her research presentation on her invention at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Undergraduate Research Technology Conference held Oct. 11 to 13 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

Maelea Mercado stands in front of a 3D printer
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH – Maelea M. Mercado of Jefferson recently took second place at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Undergraduate Research Technology Conference held Oct. 11 to 13 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Mechatronics student is designing a knee brace for people who suffer from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

“Maelea’s research project is a fantastic representation of the Mechatronics program,” said J. Miles Canino, Ph.D., who serves as Mercado’s research advisor. “She’s identified a problem and is utilizing advanced robotic principles to address this significant medical disability. Her studies stand as some of the most innovative in the nation.” 

Mercado is developing an active-damping knee orthosis for people with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). The disease causes hypermobility issues. “People with EDS are too flexible,” Mercado said. “One of their biggest complaints is hyperextension, especially in their knees. This hyperextension can happen every time a person takes a step.” 

The only option for treatment thus far has been long-term physical therapy. Traditional orthotics rely on taking strain off the joint which can cause the surrounding muscles to atrophy, further diminishing the knee’s stability. “We’re creating a non-supportive knee brace that limits the range of motion,” Mercado said. 

Early models resemble traditional supports but include magnetorheological dampers, which look similar to small shock absorbers, on either side of the brace. The dampers provide fluid resistance to keep the knee joint from flexing too far forward. The device generates an electrical current, which allows the dampers to automatically adjust to an individual’s walking pattern during every step. 

“If you crank your knee forward, more current runs through the system, allowing the damper to intelligently limit your range of motion based on that current,” Mercado said.  

Mercado and Canino have identified several people who currently suffer from EDS at SUNY Canton. The next step in their research will begin as early as the spring semester when those individuals and control subjects try the brace during a series of trials. The new orthotic will be studied further to determine how it can help other chronic knee problems. “We’d also like to adapt the technology to assist other joints,” Mercado said. 

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY’s leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 18 online degree programs. The college placed first in 14 categories in a SUNY-Wide Student Opinion Survey, most notably in career services, tutoring, library resources, and classroom facilities. The college’s 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also offers varsity esports and cheerleading. 

SUNY Canton Student Selected to Present Research at Prestigious Scientific Conference

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

A SUNY Canton Mechanical Engineering Technology student has been chosen to discuss his cutting-edge research at one of the most prominent undergraduate research conferences in the country.

Heath J. Boyea, a native of Malone, will travel to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in October to present at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Annual Conference. The event brings together students from around the world to share their scientific work.

Miles Canino and Heath Boyea sit behind a computer.

Student Heath Boyea, right, has been selected to present his research at the 2018 IEEE Annual Conference held at MIT. The project is a collaboration with SUNY Canton Assistant Professor Joel M. “Miles” Canino, Ph.D.

“This is a huge accomplishment for Heath, particularly because of the highly selective nature of this event,” said SUNY Canton Assistant Professor Joel M. “Miles” Canino, Ph.D., who is Boyea’s faculty advisor and oversees the research. “He will be presenting alongside students who attend some of the best schools in the U.S., such as Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, MIT, Columbia and Brown.”

Boyea’s research involves tracking the brain and muscle activity of recovering stroke patients, as well as observing how damage to the motor cortex—the part of the brain that controls voluntary movements—impacts the body. This data will provide a window into how patients “re-learn” movement after a stroke, as well as lay the foundation for Canino’s work to develop a therapeutic device that could assist millions of people who suffer from a stroke every year.

“Once we gather and analyze the results, the end goal is to use it to develop an artificial intelligence system for a robotic exoskeleton,” Boyea said.

He explained that stroke patients can experience paralysis on one side of the body, called hemiplegia, or significant one-sided weakness, called hemiparesis. An exoskeleton is a motorized device that is worn externally to assist with movement and increase strength and flexibility to impaired areas.

Canino said the information Boyea collects will ultimately be used to make the exoskeleton “smarter”—specifically, allow it to better anticipate the user’s desired movements and improve monitoring of patient progress.

Boyea explained that his involvement in this research project, along with the opportunity to present his work at MIT, will prepare him for postgraduate studies. SUNY Canton’s culture of faculty accessibility is what facilitated the partnership, according to Boyea.

“When I spoke to Dr. Canino about my intent to pursue an advanced degree, he offered me the chance to work side-by-side with him on this research. It’s truly been a collaborative endeavor.”

Canino and Boyea just received a $5,000 grant from the SUNY Canton Provost’s Office to continue their work, and if the research results are promising, Canino said, there could be an opportunity to apply for federal funding and conduct nationwide clinical trials.

 

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY’s leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 16 online degree programs. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference.