Engage and Enable Blog

The aim of this blog is to show what’s happening at the Center for Neurotechnology among its faculty, student and staff members. To learn more about the center and its work, visit our Feature Stories page.


QWOP, an online game that challenges you to help a man runJeremiah Wander likes to use the online running game known as QWOP as an analogy for his research. 

In QWOP, you control an athlete using the Q, W, O and P keys on a keyboard to move a man’s calves and thighs. The game is incredibly challenging; when most people run or walk, it just happens without thinking about it.

Wander studies signals that people don’t normally control, with the aim to use those signals to eventually create an action, like making a hand move.

Lars Crawford, Brian Mogen, Tyler Libey and Dimitrios Gklezakos“Taking a startup from idea to reality is a daunting process” is the opening line to a press announcement related to vHAB, a student-led startup that won the Tech Sandbox Competition in 2014. The team just learned that they are one of 10 companies accepted into the 2015 Jones + Foster Accelerator program. And they probably wouldn’t argue with the “daunting” description, though they have sometimes made it look easy to observers.

Mickey Gendler talks about the future of assistive devices, his daily challenges

Gendler, in a still taken from a Wash State Assoc for Justice videoIt’s 90 degrees in Seattle and Mickey Gendler is one of the few people in the city who actually appreciates the heat. His temperature sensitivity is one of the things he’s living with, after a spinal cord injury that happened eight years ago.

“Before my injury, I would walk around the house in shorts and a t-shirt and set the thermostat at 62,” Gendler said. “My wife would be freezing. And now, she comes in and throws the windows open and claims I’m boiling her out of the house.”

Aiva, graduate student, helps Claudia in a SpikerBox workshopWorking in STEM (science, technology, mathematic and engineering) as a woman can be challenging.

Several high-profile news stories in the last month offer a peek at the sometimes uphill battle: “Comments on ‘girls’ in science highlight persistent gap in field” from The Boston Globe and “Science postdoc told to grin and bear prof’s wandering eye” from the Chicago Tribune.

A Young Scholars Program participant at work in the labThe Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering has hosted a total of 16 students in the Young Scholars Program (YSP), a model developed and supported by the National Science Foundation, over the last few years.

The YSP provides summer research experiences for high school students and aims to develop students’ knowledge and skills related to sensorimotor neural engineering.