Wrestlebrania Adapted into Inexpensive Kit for Teaching Sensorimotor Neural Concepts

Achievement date: 
2015
Outcome/accomplishment: 

The popular game Wrestlebrainia was adapted into a prototype lab kit that can encourage other students to explore concepts such as muscle fatigue and electrode placement. The kit, as well as the original Wrestlebrainia, was sponsored by the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) with headquarters at the University of Washington.

Impact/benefits: 

“Wrestlebrainia_mini” is a fun, compact, and easy-to-disseminate introduction to neural engineering. The inexpensive kit, with about $300 in off-the-shelf and reusable parts, is being adapted with a flexible curriculum for students from middle school through undergraduate studies, and from durations of two hours to two days.

Explanation/Background: 

The CSNE had earlier launched the Tech Sandbox, a competition for  students to build useful neural engineered devices. The winner of the first Tech Sandbox was Wrestlebrainia, an EMG-controlled arm wrestling game that illustrates concepts in neural engineering. Researchers from the UW and MIT ported Wrestlebrainia to MIT, where it was transformed into Wrestlebrainia_mini, a kit that can be assembled in about an hour using off- the-shelf parts, while serving as a vehicle to explain concepts in neural engineering, Arduino (an open-source electronics platform for making interactive projects), and electronics.

Wrestlebrainia_mini debuted as a two-day lab project for the MIT Women’s Technology Program (WTP). WTP is a four-week residential program for high school senior girls who are exposed to electronics, computing, and discrete math.

 

The initial Wrestlebrainia_mini kit includes handouts, introductory slide decks, code, and an instructor’s assembly instructions. UW staff are further developing the prototype, and are working to release the related curriculum to the broader community through the CSNE website.