Kannur students make presentation at Fablearn Asia in Thailand - Times of India

KANNUR: The students and teachers of Amrita Vidyalayam at Thalassery, in Kannur, are on cloud nine, as the affordable paralysis treatment system developed by the 9th grade students of their school have been selected for a presentation at Fablearn Asia 2020 international conference, in Thailand beginning Friday.

The project was developed by Goutham Mohanraj and Ashok Kumar, along with their team members Tharak CM, Rathul Mahesh and Arjun Santhosh, and it is called Neuro-ExoHeal, a system that will improve the medical rehabilitation process by introducing an affordable paralysis treatment. The chance to get selected to Fablearn, the two-day comnference, is a great recognition, said the principal Sheela V, who added that Goutham and Ashok are presenting it there. The students are making the presentation on the opening day.

Earlier it had won first prize in Amrita National Science Olympiad at Amrita Vishwavithyapeetham as well but this is an international recognition, she added. The project was made in connection with Atal Tinkering Lab research work.

Why Neuro-ExoHeal?

Globally, 200 million people live with some type of disability or the other. Among them are a large number of people with motor disabilities. Hence rehabilitation becomes a primary challenge for the global goal of improving the quality of life of patients, said the students.

“This can be accomplished either through traditionally assisted physiotherapy or by using new technologies in rehabilitation centers. We designed Neuro-Exoheal as an innovative solution to assist in rehabilitation of hand stroke and hand paralysis,” said Goutham.

After wearing the device for an extended period and by recording the observable changes, the patients were able to notice an improvement in the movement of their fingers suggesting the generation of useful neuroplasticity, said the young researchers.

The whole apparatus is programmed by using an open source program called Arduino.

Ashok (L) and Goutham at Fablearn venue.

“Our observations from trials with patients wearing the device for an extended period of time include an improvement in the movement of their fingers suggesting the generation of useful neuroplasticity. Hence we assert that providing assistive forces inherently helps to counteract the muscle weakness,” said Ashok.

The rehabilitation routine with the device promises to accelerate the rate of recovery by approximately 30 percent and solve some of the latent problems in currently available rehabilitation devices. Additionally, the modular design of the exoskeleton hand created using a 3D printer allows the device to be reconfigured, re-positioned, and expanded upon to meet user requirements.

“We will also use Arduino microcontroller 16 channel Servo Shield MG90 metal gear micro servo potentiometer. We hope Exoheal can potentially cure hand stroke and hand paralysis. We hope that the project will be Portable Functional Adjustable Productive Durable,” said Ashok.

The microcontroller sends digital signals to the precision motor mechanisms called servo motors. They possess the ability to actuate precise movements ranging from 0 to 180 degrees. ExoHand works with the assistance of external linkages and joints present in the Exoskeleton; as one joint pushes the other, the fingers move forward in sequence.

The students in the school come up with numerous innovative ideas and they develop it in the tinkering lab. Projects on solar drone, blind assistant, cleaning robot, smart mobility systems, metal melter are a few among them, said the principal.

“Our students had earlier published papers in some international journals and we always promote them in their talent,” she said.

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