Helen Huang, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Rhode Island, received a $520,000 grant to investigate and quantify the interactive effects between lower limb amputees and powered prostheses, according to a press release.
Currently, Huang is testing the use of a powered prosthesis on patients with transfemoral amputations as they walk up ramps, climb stairs and walk on level ground. With this grant, which was awarded through the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program, she hopes to decode neuromuscular control signals and make using motorized prostheses smoother in the transition from walking on level ground to climbing stairs or navigating through rough terrain.
Huang hopes to find a way for prosthetic users to easily recover from slips and trips by combining her powered prosthesis research with her work to create a stumble-detection system. With the help of physical therapists and other clinical professionals, she believes the final product can be incorporated into the current system of prosthesis fitting and therapy, according to the release.
“My career goals are to carry out research that can improve the quality of life for patients with physical disabilities and educate the next generation of engineers and scientists,” Huang said.