Local Engineering graduate lands an Ivy League spot

Thursday, 30 July 2020

A University of Newcastle Electrical Engineering graduate, Sam Parker, has been accepted to Brown University – a prestigious Ivy League research university in the United States.

man holding robotic armSet to study a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, Sam will focus on researching brain computer interfaces.  These are devices that measure the electrochemical signals of the patient’s brain when completing a task, then use these signals to control a computer, or a prosthetic.

The opportunity builds on Sam’s final year project work at the University of Newcastle, where he was awarded Best Project for developing a brain-controlled robotic arm.

He built software and hardware to record brain activity encoded as scalp voltages, sending the data wirelessly to a laptop, where an algorithm to decode the signal is computed.  The EEG brain signal is wirelessly sent to a 3D printed prosthetic hand, where the decoder is used to interpret the signal in real-time and execute a ‘hand open’ or ‘hand close’ movement.

Acceptance into Brown University – which is at the forefront of brain computer interface study – brings Sam one step closer to fulfilling his long-time dream of improving the lives of people living with amputation or paralysis by restoring their lost function.

Sam, a 2020 John Monash scholar, will relocate to Rhode Island, U.S in August to commence his studies at Brown University.


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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.