Anna Patterson

LFCC Student Anna Patterson

LFCC student Anna Patterson demonstrates the technology covered in her honors project presentation on prosthetics technology.

Last week, LFCC student Anna Patterson gave a presentation to the STEM Club about her honors project on myoelectric prosthetics technology, “When STEM Comes Together.” 

She strapped a small device called an electromyography sensor to a volunteer’s bicep to demonstrate how it would light up from the electricity his muscle generated when he lifted his backpack.

Myoelectric prostheses are powered by the electrical signals of our muscles. The technology has been around for some time, but the prostheses are being made less bulky, according to Patterson.

The honors project was for Patterson’s anatomy and physiology class. She earned her associate of science degree from LFCC last spring, and is now taking additional classes to transfer to Purdue University, where she will enroll next fall to study chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry, and computational mathematics. 

“LFCC has been very helpful with offering great STEM classes and having a wonderful opportunity to be able to learn from really amazing professors,” she said.

Patterson was asked how she settled on the topic of myoelectric prosthetics.

 “It was mostly based on an interest in sci-fi,” she explained.

She hopes to enter a research field, although she’s not sure on specifics yet.

As she presented her project to the STEM Club, she referenced scientific laws and formulas and tossed around phrases like “pattern recognition algorithm.”  

Patterson encouraged her fellow students to take on projects that interest them.  “If there’s something like this that interests you guys, it’s totally available, it’s totally an option,” she said. “It’s a way to set yourself apart.”

She explained that physics, math, biology, technology and engineering went into developing the devices. “The collaboration that occurs goes way beyond STEM, as well,” she said.  English classes come in handy when it comes to communicating information and writing technical documents. 

Prosthetics technology is “a great example of when various disciplines within STEM are able to come together and make a product that works together and benefits society,” Patterson said.

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