Recently, Masters of Engineering (MEng) students at UC Berkeley got the opportunity to work directly with Blue Goji’s collaborators and partners at the VA (Veteran Administration) facility and the Jordan Jumpman Store, both in Los Angeles. Their first stop was at the VA facility, and the students worked side-by-side with patients of the Gerofit Program and found themselves learning more about their mobility challenges and assisting them in the use of Blue Goji’s Infinity Treadmills.
Fine Tuning the Vision
As members of the Capstone Teams Infinity and Velocity, these students are working with Blue Goji on its latest research and development endeavor. The students have been tasked with several goals for improving both the Infinity's sensing algorithms and games. Essentially, they will fine tune the data captured by the various sensors as well as integrate the latest vision-based tracking technology, thereby improving Infinity’s motion-tracking capabilities. Similarly, they will develop methods for capturing and measuring the subtle, nuanced changes in the sensor data that can potentially predict fall probabilities. The students will work with Blue Goji engineers and incorporate their findings into future game-derived and VR experiences–targeting specific risk factors and health conditions.
Jumping on the Right Technology
At the Jordan Jumpman Store’s Flight Lab, the MEng students were exposed to new and different performance training technologies that helped provide a background and context of current health monitoring and tracking technologies. Malcom Jones–Flight Lab manager, Ph.D. student from USC, and Blue Goji research collaborator–showed the students the Lab’s variety of mental training tools, including exercising athletes’ memory, cognitive thinking, and critical thinking skills. These skills are equally critical to elite athletes alongside their physical training to improve their overall performance. The combination of these new cognitive improvement and physical performance training technologies for elite athletes can potentially be applied to help with conditioning older adults for healthy aging.
Give Some & Learn Some
Being engineers of differing specialties, each student brings a unique perspective and expertise to the program. By providing these students with opportunities for hands-on experience with cutting-edge technologies and a population that will benefit directly from their potential applications, Blue Goji hopes to foster in each of them a greater sense of leadership, as well as a wider view of how their work can be used to improve the quality of life for older adults. Smiles abounded, as both students and patients embraced the potential fun and benefit that comes from playing our games on the Infinity Treadmill.
This partnership is a continuation of a long-standing collaboration between the Fung Institute and Blue Goji. Working with the VA and Dr. Steve Castle, the Research Director of the Gerofit Program, the MEng students will extend and apply their technical, engineering-based expertise to health and wellness challenges faced by older adults. More importantly, they will gain meaningful insights on how new technologies like VR can be “translated” into impactful and beneficial solutions for health and wellness needs.
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Read the students' own blog post from their perspective: here.