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Biomedical Engineering talks

York University has identified medical instrumentation as an area of strategic importance with a vision of developing a proposed National Centre for Medical Devices Development (NCMDD), a broad consortium of public- and private-sector companies. The NCMDD initiative is designed to create new research and economic opportunities around an existing medical devices industry cluster existing in the York region. The talks below are from candidates interviewing for a position in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

All talks are 11am-12noon in CSB3033.

Dr. Burton Ma: Wednesday June 25th

11am-12noon in CSB3033

Contributions to a Decade of CAOS at Kingston General Hospital and Queen's University

Dr. Ma works at the Human Mobility Lab., Kingston General Hospital.

Broadly speaking, computer-assisted orthopaedic surgery (CAOS) is concerned with combining the computational and mechanical abilities of a machine with the judgment, knowledge, and experience of a clinician to execute a surgical task better than either could do alone. The term “better” can be interpreted many different ways, but superior patient outcome is perhaps the most important goal. A common form of CAOS follows a scan-plan-navigate paradigm. In the scanning phase, a virtual model of the patient’s anatomy is constructed from medical imagery (such as x-ray, computed tomography, magnetic resonance, and ultrasound) or by direct measurement using a tracking system and pointing device. The planning phase uses the virtual model for visualization, manipulation, and computation of a patient-specific surgical plan. The navigation phase uses a tracking system to accurately follow the location of the patient and surgical tools; the tracking information can be linked to the virtual model and surgical plan to provide navigational guidance. Over the past decade, I have had the good fortune to work with computing scientists, mechanical engineers, and clinicians at Queen’s University and Kingston General Hospital. My colleagues and I have developed CAOS techniques based on pre-operative imaging and intra-operative navigation to perform a wide variety of surgical procedures that are considered technically difficult under conventional technique. More recently, we have demonstrated the clinical feasibility of replacing intra-operative tracking with customized jigs that can be inexpensively fabricated using rapid prototyping technology. In one particular type of surgery, we have shown that it is possible, and perhaps even preferable, to operate before imaging and planning, eliminating the need for jigs and intra-operative navigation. I will also describe our contributions to the body of theory describing an important source of error in navigated surgery.

Dr. Quingguo Li: Friday June 27th

11am-12noon in CSB3033

Wearable robotics: from energy harvesting to assistive devices and beyond

Dr. Qingguo Li is at the Locomotion laboratory, School of Kinesiology Simon Fraser University, Burnaby BC.

Wearable robotics provides a great opportunity for elderly and disabled people to improve their mobility and regain independence. Wearable robots can either operate in parallel with human limbs as exoskeleton or orthotic devices, or operate in series with the user as prostheses to substitute lost limbs. One distinctive feature of wearable robotics is the bi-directional intrinsic physical and cognitive interaction between human and robot. Thus, developing effective wearable robotic solutions for biomedical applications requires in-depth engineering knowledge as well as an understanding of human biomechanics and physiology.

I will first present my ongoing project on biomechanical energy harvesting. We have developed a biomechanical energy harvester (BEH) that generates electricity during human walking with little extra effort. With a control system, the knee-mounted energy harvester selectively engages power generation at the end of the swing, thus assisting knee flexor muscles in performing negative work to decelerate the knee. With the feature of producing electricity with little extra effort, this technology is particularly useful for charging powered prosthetic limbs and other portable biomedical devices. I will discuss human walking biomechanics and energy expenditure, the challenges and solutions of the mechanical and control systems, as well as results from ergometer and human subject testing. I will also cover some aspects of next generation BEH development with a focus on the sensing/control system.

Moving on from biomechanical energy harvesting, my research is focused on developing lightweight, wearable robotic technologies to benefit health and society, as well as advancing our understanding of human physiology. I am particularly interested in applying principles of robotics, system and control theory, muscle mechanics, and biomechanics to guide the designs of portable human rehabilitation, therapeutic and assistive devices. By integrating energy harvesting principles and advanced actuation techniques, wearable robotic devices will assist the users to maneuver energy and information from sound body parts to compensate impaired limbs, thus improving their mobility. My research will involve mechanical design, sensing/control system design and experiments on healthy subjects as well as subjects with movement disorders. In the second part of the talk, I will discuss some of the challenges, and provide my vision and research program in this research area.

Dr. Eric Kubica: Thursday July 3rd

11am-12noon in CSB3033

Modelling, Design and Control of Powered Orthotic Devices for Gait Assistance and Fall Prevention

Dr. Kubica is in the Dept. of Systems Design Eng., University of Waterloo.

This research seminar focuses on the development of an integrated modelling, design, and control methodology for lower-limb assistive devices for the mobility impaired. Degenerated motor control skills can be the result of accidents (e.g. spinal cord injury), disease (e.g. MS), or simply due to aging and neuromuscular atrophy. The benefit of a powered orthosis ranges from rehabilitating and assisting patients with weakened or poor motor control, to augmenting a healthy individual to increase their apparent endurance and strength. Assistive or functional augmentation technologies will likely increase in importance significantly as the average age in the world population continues to increase. In Canada and the US approximately 30% of the current population are baby-boomers (b.1946-1964) whose leading-edge is currently in their early sixties. Statistics Canada reports that a fall in persons aged 65 or older dramatically increases the probability that these persons will require hospitalization, home care and institutionalization. In addition, Veteran's Affairs Canada reports that falls are the one of the leading causes of death among seniors. Therefore, preventing falls with assistive devices could have a profound effect on individual life-styles and public health costs. This seminar will discuss a number of the keys issues in the development of powered assistive technology for gait augmentation including actuators and control methodologies. Of particular importance is the ability to prevent falls and this has been a driving force in my current research whereby a completely new methodology has been developed to restore balance to a destabilized biped. A proof-of-concept bipedal robot has been developed and a video presentation will demonstrate the effectiveness of this new technique.

Naser Famarzpoour: Friday July 4th

Naser Famarzpoour is a PhD candidate at McMaster University.

11am-12noon in CSB3033

CMOS Photodetectors for Low-Light-Level Imaging Applications

Weak optical signals have to be measured in different fields of sciences including chemistry and biology. For example, very low levels of fluorescence emission should be detected from the spots on a DNA microarray that correspond to weakly expressed genes. High sensitivity charge coupled devices (CCDs) are used in these applications. CCDs require special fabrication and are difficult to integrate with other circuits. CMOS is the technology used for fabrication of CPUs and other widely used digital components. CMOS is not optimized for light detection. CMOS circuits are however cheap, low power and can integrate several components. Parts of this research work have been focused on developing high sensitivity and high resolution CMOS imagers to replace CCDs in these applications.

There are applications like fluorescence lifetime imaging that require both sensitivity and fast response of the sensor. Photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) are commonly used in these applications to detect single photons in pico- to nano-second regime. PMTs are bulky and require high voltage levels. Avalanche photodiodes (APDs) are the semiconductor equivalent of PMTs. In this work, different APDs have also been designed and fabricated in CMOS 0.18 μm technology. These APDs can replace PMTs in several high speed and high sensitivity biomedical applications.

The low price of CMOS makes modern diagnosis devices more available. The low power of CMOS leads to battery-driven hand-held imaging solutions, and its high integration leads to miniaturized imaging and diagnosis systems. A low-light-level CMOS imager paves the way for the future generation of biomedical diagnosis solutions.

T. Claire Davies: Wednesday July 16th

11am-12noon in CSB3033

Device design and testing with the end user in mind: Audification of ultrasound for human echolocation

T. Claire Davies is a PhD candidate at Waterloo.

Universal design involves the development of products and environments that are usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation. Understanding the psychological and perceptual aspects of all the senses, primarily vision, haptics and sound, have provided insight into how design of devices should be undertaken to create human-machine interfaces that are easily navigated and accepted. This research seminar will present the development and testing of an auditory interface for travel of individuals with visual impairments. An analysis of the tasks required and the cognitive load to perform them has been taken into account resulting in an interface that audifies ultrasound. Audification provides intuitive information to the user to enable perceptive response to environmental obstacles. A device was developed that provides Doppler Shift signals that are audible as a result of intentional aliasing. This system provides acoustic flow that is evident upon initiation of travel and has been shown to be effective in perceiving apertures and avoiding environmental obstacles. The orientation of receivers on this device was also examined, resulting in better distance perception and centre line accuracy when oriented laterally as compared to forward. The design of this novel user interface for visually impaired individuals has also provided a tool that can be used to evaluate direct perception and acoustic flow in a manner that has never been studied before.

Last modified:
2008/06/20 11:24