The Engineer's Impact - Ana Luisa Trejos

Your inside look at faculty’s research and its effect on society

In this new Q&A series, we’ll feature Western Engineering faculty members to gain a succinct overview of their research, understand its impact on society, and discover intriguing little-known facts.

Meet Electrical and Computer Engineering Associate Professor Ana Luisa Trejos

TrejosCan you describe your research?

My research focuses on the design, integration, and evaluation of robotic devices that support medical care. My team and I work on investigating better ways of designing wearable technologies for upper body rehabilitation and motion assistance. We design new sensing and actuation components, we create improved ways of processing and interpreting biosignals, and we develop intelligent and adaptive control systems. We also integrate them all into wearable mechatronic devices and evaluate how well they can support musculoskeletal rehabilitation and other motion support needs.

How does your research impact society in everyday life?

My research aims to solve many of the engineering and implementation challenges of wearable technologies. In the future, the availability of garments that can monitor musculoskeletal health and support motion can provide significant benefits to people who suffer from mobility problems or who need their motion enhanced or controlled in some way. This can result in people recovering fully from musculoskeletal injuries with reduced pain and improved range of motion. For people with neurological diseases, it can allow people to remain independent for longer by supporting their ability to perform activities of daily living. Finally, the availability of large amounts of data collected using the garments can be used to assess outcomes and identify which treatment options work best. 

What’s an interesting, little-known fact related to your research?

Mechatronic systems are devices that involve mechanical and electrical components, but also perceive what is going on in the environment and react intelligently. Robotic systems are a great example of mechatronic systems, but not all mechatronic systems are robots.