IPRO: One Class, Many Different Projects

Go Inside an IPRO Course to See Illinois Tech Student Ingenuity at Work



By David Ettinger
Go Inside an IPRO Course to See Illinois Tech Student Ingenuity at Work

Students in this summer 2019 IPRO class, called Innovations in Neuromuscular & Stroke Rehabilitation, worked under the direction of Illinois Tech Associate Professor Mahesh Krishnamurthy, whose lab specializes in the design, analysis, and application of electric drives and energy conversion. More information about the lab is available here.


Reni John (BME 3rd Year): We worked on a foot drop brace. Foot drop is a gait abnormality where your forefoot drops due to weakness or damage to a nerve. I’m familiar with it because I actually used to have foot drop. And so I knew what was on the market and what it’s like for an individual who has foot drop. Our foot drop brace provides comfort, support, and rehabilitation, which is something that other foot drop braces on the market don’t have.

Igor Shvytov (MMAE 4th Year): We are building stairs that can be adjustable in different directions for people who suffer from neuromuscular disease and stroke. Those stairs will help them to focus on their rehabilitation.

Vivek Verma (BME 4th Year): We're working on an exo glove that’s controlled by the patient's muscular pathways. So, for example, if you have lost a limb, it can read the signals coming from your muscles and control the prosthetic in that sense.

Suraya Kaiser (ME 4th Year): It’s a lot of fun to work with students from different degree programs. You learn things that you might not have known otherwise, and then they’re able to learn things from you. So, foot drop doesn’t seem like a big deal to most people, especially when you have one of your feet that you can’t actually lift. It’s a condition that can be treated.

Verma: We are using surface EMG electrodes, which are very rarely used in the market right now because the electrodes that people use to read muscle signals to read neuron signals are all embedded under the skin. But we don’t want to do that for a glove that’s available in the market over the counter. It’s incredibly difficult. The hands-on learning and this kind of stuff, being able to produce a product, is what I will be doing in the future.

John: You’re given such a broad idea and are asked to make something so specific using what you know and what others know. It’s different from other classes.

Shvytov: It’s kind of interesting. It’s a good experience. As I worked with chemical engineers‚ they have a good math background, so we kind of found ourselves working really well in terms of calculating plane dimensions and working on the actual design.

Kaiser: When you combine all these different disciplines, you can create all kinds of things just because everybody has been taught to think in a different way, and everybody has different backgrounds and things to offer.