May 11th 2022

Robotic arm for rehab: MCI student wins German VPH award

First place for mechatronics student Simon Deiser | Innovative bachelor thesis in the field of rehabilitation technology convinces jury of the prestigious funding award

From left to right: Yeongmi Kim (MCI professor), Simon Deiser, Andreas Mehrle (Head of the MCI Mechatronics Department ), Peter Thuy (VPH chariman) ©MCI/Kiechl
From left to right: Yeongmi Kim (MCI professor), Simon Deiser, Andreas Mehrle (Head of the MCI Mechatronics Department ), Peter Thuy (VPH chariman) ©MCI/Kiechl

More good news at MCI: Simon Deiser, a graduate of MCI's Mechatronics bachelor's degree program, recently received the prestigious funding award from the “Verband der Privaten Hochschulen” 2021 on the topic of Innovation in Business & Society. His bachelor thesis entitled "Low cost splint with haptic feedback as a training and assessment device to improve deflection of upper limb" was awarded first place and €5,000 in prize money to fund further studies and research.

In the course of his bachelor's thesis, Simon Deiser developed a robotic rehabilitation system that helps patients regain their motor and sensory functions of the upper limbs: "It basically works like an 'exoskeleton'. The device is directly connected to the arm and registers the smallest stimuli to initiate and support movement of the arm. In addition, it can be easily controlled with a smartphone." Yeongmi Kim, supervisor of the thesis and FH professor in mechatronics at MCI, adds, "While most rehab sessions focus on training motor function, this device provides sensory training by giving kinetic and tactile feedback during motor exercises."

The prototype was completed after a year of intensive work and development. The biggest challenge was to develop the device in such a way that it is not only light and portable, but can also apply enough force to lift the forearm. Deiser is optimistic about its future use in the medical field, particularly for rehabilitation after strokes: "It would need a bit more development, but it definitely has great potential for commercial use."

Andreas Mehrle, Head of the MCI Department of Mechatronics, emphasizes: "Mr. Deiser is an outstanding student, and there are always graduates who take the path to self-employment with the topic of their thesis. I am delighted that departments in technology & life sciences are also taking up the entrepreneurial spirit of the MCI and putting it into practice."

Deiser is currently a student in the continuing MCI master's program "Mechatronics & Smart Technologies" and is working on his master's thesis, which also explores rehabilitation technology. This time, he focuses on motor and sensor technology for hands and fingers.

About the VPH funding award

The Berlin-based "Verband der Privaten Hochschulen" (VPH) has been promoting the interests of private universities and their students since it was founded in 2004. The renowned sponsorship prize is awarded annually among its member universities and honors the best bachelor theses of the year under changing themes.

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