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Therapy device invention designed by all-female team of engineers to be presented at annual meeting

October 7, 2019
Helia Lai, Amber Fillmore, Maria Barlas, and Brook Bailey developed a device that streamlines the process for occupational therapists and patients in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.

An all-female team of engineers will have the abstract of their occupational therapy device presented at the national Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) annual meeting in Philadelphia. BMES is the professional society for biomedical engineering and bioengineering.  A group of biomedical engineering students from NIU is headed to the event that takes place the week of October 16-19.

The team invented a device for occupational therapists that uses “Leap Motion” software to capture 3-D images of a patient’s hand. It can increase the efficiency and accuracy of measuring the range of motion of the hand and wrist in occupational therapy. It is a faster, more precise and more comfortable means of measurement than the standard, labor-intensive, manual method.

“We’re so proud of this team of innovative engineers,” said CEET Donald Peterson. “It’s quite an honor to have their work selected for presentation at this event.”

“This event is a great opportunity for our students to gain exposure to the field, to meet other professionals and begin to establish a network of peers in the industry,” he said. “It’s just an example of the kinds of career-building activities and hands-on experiences we provide to students to set them up for future success.”

Brook Bailey, Maria Barlas, Amber Fillmore, and Helia Lai were the students on the team that developed the device that streamlines the process for occupational therapists and patients in hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.

At the BMES event, students will have the opportunity to attend educational sessions led by industry experts, network with professionals in the field and peers from other universities.

This fall, NIU began offering bachelor’s degrees in the rapidly growing field of biomedical engineering. Ranked in the top 40 of undergraduate engineering programs by U.S. World and News Report, the CEET was established in 1985 and offers degree programs accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) and the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) in electrical engineering, engineering technology, industrial and systems engineering, and mechanical engineering. In 2019, CEET introduced bachelor’s degree programs in biomedical and mechatronics engineering. The college is housed in three facilities totaling 150,000 square feet and featuring more than 40 state-of-the-art laboratories that are open to all students from freshmen year through graduate school.

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