Trine Engineers and PTs Collaborate
Senior Trine University engineering students create augmented feedback device designed to help teach DPT students manual therapy techniques
After a professor pitched the idea of creating a manual therapy feedback device, engineering student Alexandra Kartje and her group members took it on as their senior design project. Keeping in mind that the device should be cost effective and useful for DPT students, they created an augmented feedback device with live graphical output for visual feedback and a vibration motor for tactile feedback.
“There are other devices similar to what we created, but they are outrageously expensive,” Kartje said. “With our main customer being the Trine Physical Therapy Department, the goal of this project was to provide the device at as low of a cost as possible. Ultimately, we wanted to improve the overall quality and consistency of the manual therapy techniques for Trine’s PT students.”
Throughout the process, Kartje and her group learned about physical therapy and how their product could make a difference in the classroom.
“Our group has learned a lot about manual therapy and physical therapy techniques in general,” Kartje said. “We are a group of engineering students, so we did not have any background coming in to the project. We have also learned how engineering can aid in a classroom setting.”
Once their prototype was finished, DPT students and faculty were able to try it out on each other in the lab. First year DPT student, Emma Bowman found the feedback device to be helpful with grading manual therapy.
“I found their device helpful, especially as someone who has not had any manual therapy training yet,” Bowman said. “It had an awesome feature that would vibrate when you reached the next grade. This helped me gauge how much pressure I needed to apply to accurately grade a mobilization.”