ECE students among the top finalists in TI Innovation Challenge

Elbow -orthosis -teamA team of undergraduate students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University was among the top finalists in the 2016 Texas Instruments (TI) Innovation Challenge.

The TI Innovation Challenge contest is designed to encourage engineering students to submit design projects that utilize TI technology. It is an open challenge to any area of innovation that an educational institution wants to target. One hundred seventy-nine universities participated.

The electrical and computer engineering team consisting of Nathaniel Glaser, Joe Loredo, Rafael Salas and David Cuevas submitted its Elbow Orthosis capstone project, which was awarded second place.

Their project was developed over a period of two semesters. It consisted of electromyography (EMG) sensors that are placed on the upper and lower arm in order to detect muscle contractions. In response to the muscle contractions, which are detected, filtered and analyzed using DSP IC’s, it powers a motor that assists the upward or downward movement of the elbow, which enables individuals with muscular dystrophy to accomplish everyday tasks like picking up a glass of water and lifting a plate. The entire system, including 3-D printed arm attachments, is powered by a small, portable battery pack that makes it portable and enables it to be applied to other joints like the knee.

Their design also earned the Best Overall Capstone Award in the department’s Capstone Invitational Demo Day.