My Cool Co-op with Battelle: A Student's Perspective
by Guest Student | October 30, 2018
Each year, ECS hosts our Cool Co-op Contest, and a winner is chosen in each of the following categories: Perk, People, and Projects. Last year, Biomedical Engineering student Adam Jacobowitz won the Project contest for his incredible experience working on the NeuroLife project at Battelle Memorial Institute. Below, he describes what made his internship so unique and special.
In the interview, I remember saying “sci-fi” so many times that to this day, two years later, I’m still surprised I was selected for the NeuroLife intern position at Battelle. To me, as an outsider, the work that was being done on the NeuroLife project at Battelle Memorial Institute looked like it really did come straight out of a science fiction movie. The NeuroLife project is a joint study between Battelle and the Ohio State Medical Center that allows a quadriplegic participant to move his hand using his own thoughts. The technology is called ‘neural bypass’ because his spinal cord injury (SCI) is ‘bypassed’ by recording his brain activity using a chip implanted in his brain, decoding the activity with a computer, and then activating his muscles using electrical stimulation. This technology is aimed at improving the quality of life for people with SCI by helping them regain volitional control of their muscles. Our study participant has been able to use this technology to brush his teeth, pick up a can of soda and even play guitar hero!
I am very lucky and grateful for the opportunity to work on this amazing project. My experience on this project opened my eyes to how seemingly impossible feats have perfectly logical and mechanistic explanations. I am proud of my contributions to this project and although plenty rewarding on its own, working on NeuroLife has landed me on television and in an issue of Scientific American. One of my mother’s favorite things to do now, is show the episode of HBO Vice that captured me working on NeuroLife. This project is not only cool because of the seemingly impossible task of bypassing a nervous system injury, but also important because it has given hope to millions of people who suffer from paralysis.
After winning the ECS Cool Co-op Project Contest, Adam moved on to the state contest, which is hosted through OCEA (Ohio Cooperative Education Association). The winners were announced at the annual conference awards dinner in May. Congrats to Adam for being selected also for the state award! Adam graduated in May 2018 and now works as a Technology Analyst for JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Was your co-op or internship experience awesome? If so, enter into the 2018 Cool Co-op Contest! Deadline for submission is January 31, 2019.
“Be Brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” - Paulo Coelho