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Retraining muscles after stroke

Hayam Mahmoud-Ahmed never imagined she’d be involved in a project that crossed the fields of computer science, neuroscience and business. “If you asked me a year ago if I would be going near any of these fields, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she says.

But then Dr. Aaron Newman, the director of the Rehabilitative and Diagnostic Innovation in Applied NeuroTechnology (RADIANT) program introduced her to the Neurotechnology Innovation, Commercialization and Entre-preneurship (NICE) course. During a project Mahmoud-Ahmed and two of her classmates, Manar Abeid and Batlah Alnemer, developed a device that would help retrain muscles for individuals who have experienced a stroke.

“We decided on a more flexible sleeve because everything on the market has a bulky frame. We believed we could build something functional but elegant. People forget that it’s not just mobility that people lose, but also their confidence.”

That prototype was the start of Neuro Amel Technologies, the business that Mahmoud-Ahmed hopes will bring their automated brace to market. “Neuro is for neuroscience. Amel means hope in Arabic. I’m Egyptian and my cofounders are Saudi so we thought we want to keep our Arab roots in it, and so…Amel,” she explains.

Mahmoud-Ahmed, who is a double major in Neuroscience and Computer Science, feels fortunate that she’s been able to get involved with such a breadth of programming. “Being able to experience all these amazing fields of study is truly eye opening.”