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Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder which progressively weakens (skeletal) muscles. The genetic mutation can be carried by both sexes, but the disease mostly affects boys. Muscular power decreases until young adults can no longer eat independently and end up being fully paralyzed. Young people suffering from DMD want to live their lives as normally as possible. People with DMD often do not lose power in their hands until the later stages of the disease, hence they can use assistive devices to allow them to manipulate objects.

Recent studies in people with DMD found that, even though the muscles no longer react and contract, electromygraphic (EMG) signals can still be measured, even from patients near the final stages of their illness.

In this BioRobotics minor, students will make a robotic manipulator, and use EMG signals to control its motion; the robot will give back independence to its user. The goal for each project team is to completely design and build a prototype of a robotic manipulator from scratch that would allow people with DMD to perform a certain task. This task will be determined and communicated at the start of the module. The robot is to be instructed what to do through measured EMG signals, such that it could be used by fully paralyzed individuals. However, students will actually be the ones to control test their own robots. Students are required to develop a keen ethical sense and integrate ethics and safety analyses into their design process.

The module (15 EC in total) consists of a design project  and four courses: Programming of Embedded Systems, Robot Kinematics, Control of Robotic Systems and Biomedical Signal Analysis.


After completing the module, students will be able to:

· systematically approach a design project from user requirements to device evaluation, taking into account social and ethical consequences of enabling technologies.

· design a robot for application to a biomedical problem using multidisciplinary knowledge from mechanical, electrical, control and software engineering domains.

· create kinematic and dynamic models that can be used to evaluate design and control concepts of a robot.

· extract and interpret signals from the human body that can be used to instruct a robot.

· control a robot by use of a programmable microcontroller

Aanvullende informatie

N.B. The learning agreement signed by the student and his Examination Board must have reached the UT-contactperson before the enrollment ends.


Introductory courses in Statistics and Dynamics, Systems and Control Theory. Basic understanding of linear algebra and Matlab (software) is recommended.


Project exams:
All project groups write a report and create a design poster to present and demonstrate the robot. Furthermore the design poster is used during individual oral examination. In summary: 1) the report, 2) the robot design and functioning, 3) the group presentation and 4) the individual oral examination will be graded separately. All four aforementioned items are weighted equally.

Course exams:
The four courses (CRS, RKI, BSA and PES) will be tested digitally through the Remindo system. The majority of the questions will be multiple choice questions. Effectively each of the four courses has one large test, but it is split in two parts over two days in weeks 5 and 9, and therefore covers two halves of the study material.

All four courses (not the tests) need to have been passed with a 5.5 or higher before the course work is considered to have been concluded successfully.

A second attempt, a re-exam, of any combination or all of the four courses (CRS, BSA, RKI and PES) is, again digitally, possible for everyone in week 10. There will be no further re-exams for CRS, BSA and RKI during the rest of the academic year. Exceptions are: individual project oral exams (2nd attempt) and for PES (3rd attempt reparation as an oral exam).


Generally: Lecture notes and online readers will be made available for free during the module.

BSA Book: Shiavi, "Introduction to Applied Statistical Signal Analysis", 3rd edition, ISBN: 978-0-12-088581-7. Freely accessible within UT network via

CRS Readers: Design & Control of Mechatronic Systems (Part 1) Design & Control of Mechatronic Systems (Part 2) (Can be bought at campus book store)


This Minor module lasts for 10 weeks, from August 31, up to and including November 6, 2020. This fully encompasses quarter 1A.

Week 9 is reserved for finishing project work, Week 10 is reserved for finishing project work and re-exams.