Jul 22

UNH KEEPERS Camp visit to the Biomedical Engineering lab

Last week, undergraduates from the Project54 lab visited the KEEPERS camp. KEEPERS stands for Kids Eager for Engineering Program with Elementary Research-based Science. The purpose of the camp is to get young children interested in engineering. One of the tours that the camp went on was a trip to Professor Wayne Smith’s Biomedical Engineering lab, where campers learned about how electrical engineers design prosthetic limbs that react to signals from the brain. Chris Bancroft, a recent graduate of the UNH ECE masters program, gave a demonstration to the campers of how the technology works. He attached electrical leads to his arm and explained to the campers that when a person with a prosthetic limb moves their arm, the brain sends signals to the muscle. That is where the leads pick up the signals and send it to a microcontroller. In the demonstration in the lab, Chris had the microcontroller attached to pneumatic pumps that forced air into a muscle-like air bladder. He explained that when the signals from the brain are picked up by the muscle, they are amplified and then sent to the microcontroller which decides which pumps to turn on and move the muscle, lifting a wooden arm.

Devin Mullen