mramiccio

/Marisa Ramiccio

About Marisa Ramiccio

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Marisa Ramiccio has created 3 blog entries.

Cranking up the power setting may help some who use prosthetics

Amputees who use powered prosthetic ankles may be able to avoid the energetic costs typically associated with prosthetics by cranking up the power provided by their devices.

A UCF engineering professor recently published a study in Scientific Reports that shows that people with transtibial amputations—the loss of a limb below the knee—may improve their walking ability if they change the power-setting on their devices. Hwan Choi, who received his doctorate in engineering from the University of Washington, is an assistant professor in the UCF department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the United States every year and 49-95% of lower-limb amputees reportedly use a prosthesis. Most of those on the market are passive prosthetics. On average, amputees spend up to 30% more energy than unimpaired individuals when performing tasks such as walking. This could be due to the fact that most ankle prostheses are passive-elastic, meaning that they can store and release energy when they come in contact with the ground but are unable to perform positive net ankle work that allows for muscle shortening contractions to occur. In fact, these prostheses are only able to provide one eighth of the power of the intact gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, the key muscles that support and propel the body during walking.

As passive prostheses increase the energetic demand on the user, individuals may have to compensate by increasing muscular effort in the residual or intact limb. Powered ankle prostheses, on the other hand, use actuators to reduce the increased metabolic costs placed on amputees by delivering positive work. BiOM (now known as EMPOWER), the only commercially available powered ankle prosthetic, uses a visual display that allows the wearer to tune the power setting on the device. Ideally, they would select a power setting between 0% and 100% that best approximates that of a healthy ankle at the user’s preferred walking speed. But the question remains: how much power should the prosthesis provide?

Read the full story at phys.org.

2018-11-14T17:26:55+00:00 November 14th, 2018|Categories: News, Uncategorized|

Aerospace Professor Featured in Chevron’s Thank Your Role Model Commercial

With two young kids to take care of and a husband 9,500 miles away in Singapore, graduate school was nothing less than chaotic for Seetha Raghavan. She was pursuing her doctoral degree at Purdue University’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics after spending eight years working in the industry. While her heart was leading her down the road of research and academia, her mind was telling her to get through her studies – and get back to normal life – as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, the voice of her advisor, Professor P.K. Imbrie, spoke loudest of all with words of support, guidance and encouragement. He taught her to slow down, have patience, and to put the quality of her work ahead of the urge to complete her degree.

If you’ve caught the latest Chevron commercial on TV, you’ve seen Raghavan, now an associate professor within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, thanking Imbrie for telling her “You’ve got this.” Raghavan is one of several women in STEM featured in the commercial for Chevron’s Thank Your Role Model campaign, which celebrates the role models who have inspired women to seek careers in science, technology, engineering or math.

“P.K. taught me all about what it takes to be a good researcher: independent thinking, the ability to adapt when things don’t work out the way you imagined (and believe me they often don’t), planning and organizing before executing experiments as well as perseverance,” Raghavan said. “He often told me about his own stories as a graduate student so I could relate.”

Imbrie, now the head of the engineering education department at the University of Cincinnati, can also be seen in the commercial. He’s the “doer behind the doer” in the picture with Raghavan during her grad school days.

Within the field of engineering education, Imbrie is well-known. As his teaching assistant, Raghavan picked up some his techniques to train future engineers – techniques that she now uses in her classroom.

“I was really lucky to have such a great role model,” Raghavan said. “P.K. was, and continues to be, such a great source of encouragement and…he never lets his students go hungry! As a professor, I constantly strive to be like him and pay it forward.”

The mentee has certainly become a mentor to many aerospace engineering students at UCF. In the 10 years that she has been with the university, nine students from her research lab have been awarded Fulbright or National Science Foundation fellowships. Many others have conducted graduate-level research with or have been hired by top companies in the aerospace industry.

Having faced her share of struggles as a woman in a STEM-related field, Raghavan said she draws inspiration from the stories of the “real” people around her who have successfully overcome similar obstacles. In turn, she strives to be that real person when advising her students.

“I try to be one of those ‘real’ people to everyone else just by being accessible to my students and by being candid in my role as an advisor. I am never hesitant to share my mistakes or failures along the path I took to build success – we grow the most from failures,” Raghavan said. “I constantly challenge my students to reach higher than what they think they are capable of.”

Raghavan said that she is more than willing to provide mentorship and guidance to students because she wants them to take advantage of the opportunities that STEM has to offer. She has shared her story on the website EngineerGirl, a service of the National Academy of Engineering sponsored by Chevron, and has connected with many young girls around the world who have asked her questions about STEM.

When looking for women to feature in their “Thank Your Role Model” campaign, Chevron found Raghavan’s story on EngineerGirl and wanted to know more about her. They reached out to her, and they rest is now TV history.

Now, when young girls look to her for support, guidance and encouragement, she tells them “You’ve got this.”

“Whenever you hit a roadblock, use it to push yourself harder and you will find yourself coming out stronger and more confident to meet challenges you will face in future,” Raghavan said. “Look around you for inspiration – role models are there to show you that success often comes only after overcoming failures and that we are no different – we can get there too.”

Visit thankyourrolemodel.com to view Raghavan’s full video, to send a thank-you card to your role model, or to upload your own 15-second video thanking those who inspired you.

2018-11-08T11:03:39+00:00 November 8th, 2018|Categories: News|

Albert Manero Makes Orlando Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 List

Albert Manero, the founder of Limbitless Solutions, has been named one of Central Florida’s 40 Under 40 by the Orlando Business Journal. The award distinguishes remarkable young professionals under the age of 40 who are making a difference in the community.

Manero is a three-time graduate of the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science, having earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. He is the president of Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit that specializes in creating 3D printed bionic arms that are functional, expressive and completely free of charge. Manero started 3D printing arms as an experiment for 6-year-old Alex Pring, who was born without most of his right arm. Limbitless Solutions now has a goal to deliver 5,000 bionic arms by 2020.

The UCF alum is not the only Knight on the list. He’s joined by Milke Kilbride, the assistant vice president of UCF Downtown.

2018-11-07T16:50:52+00:00 November 7th, 2018|Categories: News|