Five undergraduate students studying health sciences, biomedical sciences and statistics are putting what they’ve learned at Limbitless Solutions on display during Student Research Week.

Limbitless Solutions is a University of Central Florida (UCF) non-profit research facility, with a STEAM-focused approach toward prosthetics. The philosophy has led to a program devoted to beautiful and functional electromyographic bionic limbs for children which are currently being evaluated through clinical trial research.

This semester 40 students are interning at Limbitless. They all bring their own talents based on their fields of study while learning to work as a team and gaining skills outside their area of study. The research environment blends engineering, art and communication with innovative tech, including the prosthetic arms for children. Part of the process of getting children ready for Limbitless prosthetics involves preparing their muscles for the kind of work required to use the prosthetics. That’s accomplished through using a video game controller and special EMG-based video games designed at Limbitless Solutions.

In 2016, Limbitless and UCF faculty members Matt Dombrowski ’08MFA with UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Design and Peter Smith ’05MS ’12PhD with UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication and Mediacreated video games to train children’s muscles in anticipation of receiving bionic arms.

The student research team presenting evaluates the effectiveness and usability of a custom EMG video game controller and the game mode used by the children between pre- and post-tests. The study focuses on the mobile video game, Limbitless Runner, developed in-house and now available in app stores.

The findings of the study will assess the influence of using focused training games with the EMG controller to teach Limbitless’ bionic kids how to use their prosthetic.

“My time at Limbitless has been filled with a variety of different learning experiences, each of which has brought me closer to my peers and pushes me to become more and more passionate about our main goal: supporting our bionic kids,” says Calvin MacDonald, one of the team members presenting at Research Week. He is a 20-year-old sophomore from Melbourne Beach studying health sciences.

Other team members are Shea McLinden (health sciences), Devon Lynn (biomedical sciences), Katherine Tran (health sciences) and Kelsey Robinson (statistics).

“This experience has sparked my interest in pursuing a career which incorporates healthcare, as well as clinical research opportunities,” says McLinden who is in her junior year.

This same team also presented their work at the Florida Undergraduate Research Conference (FURC) in February. FURC is one of the nation’s largest multidisciplinary research conferences and is open to all Florida undergraduate students. This was the 11th year of the conference and the first time held at UCF.