An afternoon with the UT engineers.

A quick visit to the nursing home confirms that my presence, although much appreciated, does not dramatically change the physical state of most of the inhabitants.  Indeed, one of the stroke victims still cannot move her arm.  I proceed to an engineering Senior Open House at UT, and spent the afternoon viewing the various projects that the seniors had developed with local industries, with an eye toward helping the immobilized.  The projects ranged from the most fundamental – dampening square wave discontinuities to remove ripple noises, and multiplexing databits of a data stream for parallel processing, to several 3-d rendering projects for applications like scanning car dents, to radar, computer tracking, and detection systems, and drone design that I found scary, to the more medically oriented projects.  In the latter case, there were medical device scanning systems, sleepwalk and seizure detecting systems that nurses could use to monitor movement from a hospital bed for example, to a few displays of home systems that could be activated with a hand signal over an infrared sensor to turn on lamps, coffee makers, music, and adjust thermostats.  For those with memory problems who spend half of their life looking for things, there were tags that one could put on objects like key chains, glasses, remote controls, etc. and find them in the house using wireless technology.  Also, 2 of the 30 exhibits used solar technology for smoke detectors, and optimizing voltages for solar energy harvesting.  Almost all of the exhibits used wireless and android programming.

I thought that the dent scanning devices invented for cars could be modified to scan nonhealing bed sores or diabetic foot wounds so that their depths could be quantified noninvasively, lowering the risk of spreading infection.

I left the exhibit with some inspiration to try some independent design projects, and wanting to attend a fusebox festival art event by an artist who works with robotics to see if I could get some insight into how to design a portable robotic arm that would attach to the side of a bed allowing a stroke victim to hold a plate or a book with wireless joystick control from the other hand.  I had met the artist at the art museum dance event.  At the end of the day, though, I was too tired, and almost unable to walk.

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