A team of four Biomedical Engineering students from UConn are breaking new ground in the fight against Spastic Cerebral Palsy. They’re all women, which is unusual, but that’s not what makes them ground-breaking – rather, it’s how they’re trying to fight the disease that sets them apart. They’re building a new approach from the ground-up.
“We’re creating a cerebral palsy hand rehabilitation device,” said UConn Senior Katie Bradley, “we have four motors that are going to be on our device. Each one of them is targeting the four muscles that we’re looking at.”
“We want to improve their quality of life, alleviate their pain,” said Senior Brittany Morgan.
In the United States, there are nearly 800,000 children and adults that exhibit one or more symptoms of Cerebral Palsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10,000 new-born babies will develop Cerebral Palsy every year. One of the major symptoms for Cerebral Palsy patients is loss of motor function, taking away the ability to walk with ease, and creating difficulty in feeding. There have been several advancements in devices that aid individuals with Cerebral Palsy, but not enough devices that rehabilitate the patient. Four biomedical engineering students are looking to tackle that issue with their innovative Senior Design project.
Katherine Bradley, Morgan DaSilva, Brianna Perry, and Brittany Morgan, the four students involved in the project, are working on a brace, which would go on the hand and arm of a Cerebral Palsy patient, and would use vibration therapy to treat and strengthen the muscles in those parts of the body. The project is being sponsored by the Biomedical Engineering department, and the group is being advised by Professor Krystyna Gielo-Perczak.
The impact of engineering policy and practice on individuals and societies has often been overlooked in engineering education. Yet, engineering technologies and applications – from the extraction and processing of natural resources and manufacture of high-tech electronics to chemical processing and pollution remediation – affect the health, culture, opportunities and well-being of humans in often profound ways.
The University of Connecticut School of Engineering and the Human Rights Institute (HRI) are pleased to announce the expansion of the existing Human Rights minor program at UConn focusing on human rights within the engineering context. The confluence of engineering and human rights education is a natural fit and reflects engineers’ growing awareness that our technological designs, processes, policies and practices transpire within larger ecosystems and contexts. These, in turn, have varying degrees of impact upon the rights and well-being of individuals, families and cultural norms.
New cross-listed courses, including “Assessment for Human Rights & Sustainability” and “Sustainable Energy for the 21st Century” will be offered beginning in the fall 2014 semester and taught jointly by faculty from both disciplines.