By Tiffany Tao
Recently, Master of Engineering students at UC Berkeley got the opportunity to work directly with Blue Goji’s collaborators and partners at the Veteran Administration (VA) facility and the Jordan Jumpman LA 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, learning more about the mobility challenges of older veterans and assisting them in the use of Blue Goji’s Infinity Treadmills.
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 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.
At the Jordan Jumpman LA Store’s Flight Lab, the MEng students were exposed to different and new performance training technologies that helped provide background and context of current health monitoring and tracking technologies. Malcolm Jones — the Flight Lab manager, a Ph.D. student from USC, and a Blue Goji research collaborator — showed the students the Lab’s variety of mental training tools, such as exercising athletes’ memory, cognitive thinking, and critical thinking skills, which are equally critical to elite athletes as their physical training in improving their overall performance. The combination of these new cognitive improvements and physical performance training technologies for elite athletes can potentially be applied to help with conditioning older adults for healthy aging.
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.
“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.”
This 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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On the road: MEng students visit Los Angeles with Blue Goji was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.