The BME 600 seminar series is an opportunity to practice the presentation skills BME graduate students will need for the defense of their thesis, or for presentation of their research at scientific meetings. It is also a forum where you will learn to critically review the scientific and presentation skills of your peers.

Next Upcoming Seminar:

Date: 2020 Feb 05

Time: Noon - 1PM

Location: ECHA L1-220

Presentation Topic: “Validation of Fitbit-like device for Measuring Propulsion Metrics for Manual Wheelchair Users"

Presenter: John Christy Johnson, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering


The significant stresses involved in manual wheelchair propulsion can place manual wheelchair users (MWUs) at a significant risk of developing upper extremity overexertion injuries.1,2 Extracting propulsion metrics such as propulsion force using portable sensors provide valuable information for wheelchair users4,5, especially to assist with over-use injury prevention and navigation in challenging built environments.

The SMARTWheel (Three Rivers Holdings, LLC, Mesa, AZ) is considered the “gold standard” in tracking these metrics for MWUs.6,7 It relies on replacing a wheel of the MWU’s wheelchair with wheel which senses torque applied specifically to the pushrim. Unfortunately, the SMARTWheel is expensive ($20,000 retail price), much heavier that a regular wheelchair wheel, and not ergonomically attractive.

Our lab has developed sensor (Redliner), which is much cheaper (~$100 components alone), lightweight, and sleeker that attaches to the spokes of a wheel. Redliner consists of a control board, novel firmware, with two accelerometers and a module, which reads and transmits data. The dual accelerometer design eliminates spurious noise by subtracting the common mode. Here, I compared angular acceleration and force profiles to determine if Redliner is comparable to SMARTWheel.


[1] Liping Qi, Martin Ferguson-Pell, Zohreh Salimi, and Ailar Ramadi “Wheelchair users' perceived exertion during typical mobility activities”, Spinal Cord  53, 687–691; 2015 doi:10.1038/sc.2015.30 [2] Curtis, K. A., Drysdale, G. A., Lanza et al. (1999). Shoulder pain in wheelchair users with tetraplegia and paraplegia. Archives of Phys. Medicine & Rehab, 80(4), 43-457. [4] Manoela Ojeda, Jui-Te Lin (Ray), Dan Ding (2012). Estimating Stroke Number and Cadence of Wheelchair Propulsion using Portable Sensors. RESNA Annual Conference. [5] M.T. Leving, H.L.D. Horemans, R.J.K. Vegter, et al. “Validity of consumer-grade activity monitor to identify manual wheelchair propulsion in standardized activities of daily living.” PLoS One. 2018;13(4):e0194864.  [6] "SmartWheel," Out-Front, 2015. [Online]. [7] Cooper R. A., "SmartWheel: From concept to clinical practice," Prosthetics & Orthotics Intl., vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 198-209, 2009.

All are welcome!

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 - Welcome to new students & Creating scientific and 3-minute thesis presentations
Wednesday, January 22, 2020
Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 3-minute thesis competition
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 3-minute thesis competition
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

NOTE that it is mandatory for all BME graduate students to attend BME600 seminars (whether registered for the current course, or not). In the event of an unexpected time conflict, please let me know by email that you will not be able to attend.

BME 2019 Celebrate the Season Potluck!

Date: 2019 December 5, Thursday

Location: 1-075 RTF

Time: Noon to... whenever!

Obligation: Please bring a (hot) food dish!

Contact: Kevin Solar@ualberta.ca

Advances in Biomedical Engineering Today... Better Healthcare Tomorrow

The Department of Biomedical Engineering is at the forefront of one of the most rewarding areas of engineering, applying the principles and methods of engineering to medicine, engaging in research and teaching. Our research and teaching are second to none; the advances we make today will be seen in medicine tomorrow.

So if you want to improve healthcare, become a part of our team. 

Department News