ECE students design equipment for US Department of Defense and VA

May 12, 2021


Group photo of Aslani with his team in lab

Dr. Amir Aslani (ECE) and his capstone project students, Nicholas BrignolaCaitlyn PrattJustina PruskiShannon French, and Courtney Dutile, visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on April 29 to test the equipment that they designed and developed for the Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence (EACE). EACE is the leading advocate for research and treatment of Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) patients with extremity trauma and amputation.

Abnormal mechanics of movement resulting from lower-limb amputation (LLA) may increase stability demands on the spinal column and/or alter existing postural control mechanisms and neuromuscular responses. Adequate neuromuscular control of the lumbar spine is required to prevent lumbar injuries. A seated balance task is used to investigate the effects of LLA on trunk postural control and stability. 

Dr. Aslani’s students redesigned and fabricated an autonomous wobble chair for EACE to characterize and quantify postural control of the lumbar spine during unstable sitting. The team's automated design reduces the effort and time required by researchers to operate the chair, improves measurement accuracy, and reduces the burden for chair users by allowing them to remain seated while adjustments are made.

Dr. Aslani and the team would like to sincerely thank William RutkowskiNicholas Batista, and Thomas Punte of the SEAS Machine Shop and mentor Dr. Carl Wick for their exemplary assistance throughout this process. Additionally, they would like to thank the Quality of Life Plus (QL+) organization and Dr. Barbara Springer, who challenged the students to create innovative technology solutions that improve the quality of life for injured veterans, first responders, and others who have served our nation. Last but not least, they offer many thanks to Dr. Bradford Hendershot, facility research director at DoD-VA Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence, for his outstanding support.