Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control (BLINC)

The BLINC Lab brings together a diverse group of inter-disciplinary researchers interested in collaborative research to improve sensory motor control and integration of advanced prosthetic and robotic systems. The lab encompasses research projects led by Dr. Jacqueline Hebert, MD, and Dr. Patrick Pilarksi, PhD, in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, at the University of Alberta.

In addition to advancing prosthetic and robotic care, we are intensely interested in the measurement of human systems behaviour that allows us to investigate the impacts of technological interventions on clinical outcomes. The BLINC Lab has close links to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, involving clinicians with direct experience in the care of persons with limb loss. We also benefit from close linkages and collaborations with several departments and faculties across the University of Alberta campus. Our unique combination of medical, rehabilitation, engineering and computing science researchers has allowed the evolution of multiple lines of complementary research aimed at improving the science and art of prosthetic restoration and rehabilitation robotics.

Jacqueline S. Hebert MD, FRCPC (Faculty)

Dr. Hebert is the director of the BLINC Lab and has research appointments at the University of Alberta and a clinical appointment at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. Dr. Hebert leads the interdisciplinary clinical team that performs upper limb Targeted Reinnervation (TR) surgery in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Her research team studies advanced motor control and sensory … Continue reading

Patrick M. Pilarski, Ph.D. (Faculty)

Dr. Patrick M. Pilarski is a Canada Research Chair in Machine Intelligence for Rehabilitation at the University of Alberta, and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine. Dr. Pilarski is a principal investigator with the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) and the Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory … Continue reading

Michael (Rory) Dawson, M.Sc., P.Eng. (Research Engineer)

Rory is the lead research engineer in the BLINC Lab, and is appointed to the department of Medicine – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Alberta. Rory directly drives and coordinates the engineering projects in the lab related to prosthetics and orthotics including design of training tools, sensory feedback systems, and research platforms. Rory plays … Continue reading

Albert H. Vette, Ph.D. (Faculty)

  Dr. Albert Vette is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a Research Scientist at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton.  He also is a member of the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute (NMHI) and an affiliate within the Department of Biomedical Engineering, both at the University of Alberta.  Albert received his … Continue reading

Jason Carey, Ph.D., P.Eng. (Faculty)

Dr. Carey is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Dean (Programs and Planning) of the Faculty of engineering. His general research interests are in the areas of composite and biological materials mechanics, biomedical engineering design, biomechanics of orthodontic treatment and orthodontic imaging, tissue mechanics and sports and injury biomechanics.

Craig Chapman, Ph.D. (Faculty)

  Dr. Chapman studies what appear to be simple motor behaviours like reaching to take a sip of tea from a mug on a messy desk.  These actions are simple in that we never even have to think of them, but they only appear that way, because the exact way the brain accomplishes the control of … Continue reading

Mayank Rehani (Research Associate)

                  Mayank Rehani is a research associate and study coordinator in the BLINC Lab. He graduated with an MSc in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Alberta in 2013, after completing a BSc with Double Major in Biological Sciences and Psychology (Science) in 2008. He also completed … Continue reading

Ahmed Shehata, Ph.D. (Post-Doctoral Fellow)

Dr. Shehata joined the BLINC Lab in 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow. He received a B.Sc. degree in Engineering Materials Science and an M.Sc. degree in Mechatronics Engineering from the German University in Cairo (GUC), Egypt, in 2012 and 2013, respectively. In 2015, he pursued his doctoral studies at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University … Continue reading

Glyn Murgatroyd, BPE, B.Sc.OT (Occupational Therapist)

A graduate of the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Physical Education in 2002 and Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2005. He is an Occupational Therapist who has been working with the adult amputee population in a tertiary rehabilitation setting since 2009. His current focus is working at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital with amputee, peripheral … Continue reading

Mike Stobbe, CP (Prosthetist)

Mike Stobbe is a research associate with BLINC and works through a collaboration with the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.  He has been a Certified Prosthetist for 14 years working with all levels of limb amputation but has developed specialty in upper limb prosthetic treatment.  He assists BLINC by interfacing the existing and novel technology used at … Continue reading

Juan Forero, Ph.D. (Post-Doctoral Fellow)

Juan Forero graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the Universidad de Los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia) in 1999.  He moved to Florida where he completed his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering, focused in Biomechanics, at Florida International University (Miami, Florida) in 2001.  After completing his Masters, he moved back to Colombia where he worked … Continue reading

David Home, C.P. (Prosthetist)

David Home is a research associate with BLINC  and works through a collaboration with the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. He has been a prosthetist for 30 years and has a particular interest in CAD CAM prosthetics.

Riley Dawson, B.Sc. (MBA/MEng)

Riley is a computer engineer with the BLINC Lab. He graduated with a BSc in Computer Engineering – Software Option at the University of Alberta in 2014. His educational background includes extensive exposure to biological sciences and mechanical engineering, and he is currently pursuing a combined MBA/MEng degree. Riley’s work experience spans a diverse subset … Continue reading

Craig Sherstan, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Ph.D. Student)

Applying Reinforcement Learning to the control of prosthetic arms to make them easier for amputees to use. View Craig’s MSc thesis here. Education: BSc Engineering Physics (University of Alberta) – 2005 Computer Engineering Technologist (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) – 2000

Ewen Lavoie, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Ph.D. Student)

  Ewen has a diverse background that consists of researching, teaching, coaching, and community involvement. He holds undergraduate degrees in Biology and Education. After 4 years of coaching competitive swimming and teaching junior high and high school science and mathematics, Ewen joined the Action in Complex Environments Lab and the Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural … Continue reading

Aïda Valevicius, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Ph.D. Candidate)

  Aïda graduated with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology from McGill University in 2012. Following her degree, she attended the University of Western Ontario where she pursued graduate studies in biomechanics. Her focus was on using a multi-segment foot model with motion capture technologies to quantify the joint motions of the foot. Aïda completed her MSc … Continue reading

Quinn Boser, B.Sc. (M.Sc. Student)

Quinn graduated with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Option in spring 2015, and is currently working towards an MSc in Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Jacqueline Hebert. Before beginning her MSc program in the fall of 2016, Quinn worked for a year as a research assistant with Dr. Hebert and a team … Continue reading

Heather Williams, B.Sc. (M.Sc. Student)

  Heather has been a presence in the BLINC Lab since May 2014. She worked as a volunteer researcher for three summers during her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. She began to pursue a Masters in Mechanical Engineering in September 2017, under the supervision of Dr. Vette and Dr. Hebert. As an undergraduate researcher, she made … Continue reading

Eric Wells, B.Sc. (M.Sc. Student)

Eric Wells is pursuing a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering under Dr. Jacqueline Hebert and Dr. Jason Carey.  He completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Alberta in 2018, and joined the lab shortly afterwards.  Although his education lies in mechanical engineering, he has a passion for robotics and mechatronics.  The … Continue reading

Ben Hallworth (B.Sc. Student)

  Ben Hallworth is an undergraduate student currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical (Biomedical) Engineering at the University of Alberta. Ben has been involved with the BLINC Lab as a volunteer researcher in 2017 working on optimizing 3D printing parameters for airtight prosthetic sockets. Now he is a co-op student working on designing and … Continue reading

Shealynn Carpenter, B.Sc. (MD. Student)

                  Shea graduated from a BSc. in Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Option in 2017. During her undergraduate studies she discovered her strong interest in medicine and is now completing a medical degree at the University of Alberta. Shea began working at the BLINC lab in 2014 as an engineering research student. … Continue reading

Alicia MacDonald (B.Sc. Student)

  Alicia MacDonald is currently in her third year of Mechanical Engineering, Biomedical Option at the University of Alberta. She is on track to complete her undergraduate degree in April of 2021. Her involvement with the BLINC lab began in Fall of 2018 when she completed a Dean’s Research Award in the lab through working … Continue reading

Cierra Stiegelmar (B.Sc. Student)

                Cierra is currently pursuing an undergraduate Honors in Neuroscience degree at the University of Alberta. She began volunteering in the BLINC lab in 2018 and assisted with experiments involving adaptable sockets, vibration-induced kinesthetic illusion, and motion capture of functional tasks. She is now working on investigating the … Continue reading

Cyrus Diego (B.Sc. Student)

  Cyrus Diego is currently in his third year of Computer Engineering, Software Option at the University of Alberta. He is on track to graduate in April 2022. Cyrus worked on a virtual reality environment project, VIPER, for BLINC Lab for the summer of 2019. VIPER, or VIrtual Prosthesis systEms simulatoR, is a virtual simulator … Continue reading

Previous Lab Members

  Dylan Brenneis, M.Sc. Graduate (2019) Currently working as a Research Engineer at DeepMind, Canada. James Austin, M.Sc. Graduate (2018) Currently working as the lead Mechanical Engineer at PSYONIC, USA developing affordable advanced prostheses. McNiel Keri, M.Sc. Graduate