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Stroke and striking back: NU comes up with “Excelsior”

About 8,00,000 cases of stroke are estimated to occur in the United States of America in one year. Patients, after this, require physical therapy and continuous exercise to regain their previous mobility. Constantinos Mavroidis, professor of Engineering, and Richard Ranky, a mechanical engineering doctoral candidate of Northeastern University, with the support from undergraduate team members including Aaron Bickel, Abhishek Singhal, Craig Pacella, and Nisha Parekh, came up with an innovative device called “Excelsior”.
The device uses a three-dimensional additive manufacturing with embedded sensors that can be personalised to fit each user’s hand. The colours of the LED lights on the tips of the device is matched with those on external surfaces like doorknobs to facilitate the movement. The model was made with the consultation of physical therapists at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital who helped the developers understand the needs of the patient.
The project was an enlightening one for its makers. Ranky talks about how getting a hands-on experience were much more different than learning in a classroom. The project brought him closer to the world he was working for. Parcella talked about how programming and creating circuit boards for the prototype forced him to get him out of his comfort zone, giving him a valuable experience that would help him when he gets his first professional job.
Mavroidis hopes to fine-tune the device by making it more user-friendly and stronger and to bring it out into the market for the patients at a price of $200. There needs to be much work done to patent it and get a license before doing these. Small everyday things like picking up a bottle from the floor can be a challenging task to survivors of stroke. With Excelsior, the team hopes to make their lives easier and rehabilitate them to their routines.
N Malavika Mohan