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Jim Schmiedeler


PUBLISHED: December 19, 2011

Jim Schmiedeler

Associate Professor
Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the No. 3 killer in the United States. It is also a leading cause of long-term disabilities, particularly motor deficiencies in arm movement. An interdisciplinary team led by James Schmiedeler, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering; Aaron Striegel, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and Charles Crowell, associate professor of psychology, is working to extend the capabilities of "game" devices such as the Nintendo® WiiTM and multi-touch devices like the Surface to enhance rehabilitation activities after a stroke or traumatic injury. They have partnered with Johan Kuitse, the director of Rehabilitation Services, and his staff at Memorial Hospital in South Bend.

Students interacting with light tableAlthough the Surface has received attention for rehabilitation (by virtue of its games) in the past, the team is exploring novel applications. They are also working to identify how the devices can be used to better diagnose motor and cognitive impairments, to quantifiably measure the recovery of motor and cognitive function, and to speed and enhance that recovery in stroke rehabilitation patients.

Undergraduates have also been able to take advantage of a one-of-a-kind programming course that Striegel has been teaching using the Surface, learning how to program the device and developing their own applications.