Ioannis Dimitrios Zoulias
University of Reading from 2008 to 2012 and then again from 2012 to 2016
MEng in Artificial intelligence and Cybernetics, PhD in Cybernetics
Post-Doctoral researcher working as part of the FES research group which is funded by EPSRC
University of Reading, School of Biological Sciences
Favourite thing to do in my job: Making new equipment and experimental rigs and then testing them out!
I am an Engineer, who has a fascination with the way our brains and bodies work
I use electrical stimulation to help people with paraplegia stand up and exercise
In the project that I am currently working, we investigate how standing exercises can help with the loss of bone mass in people that have paraplegia due to a spinal cord injury.
Paraplegia, a condition that means that there is no sensation or voluntary motion in the lower part of the body, creates further health issues one of which is the loss of bone mass in the legs. This is because there is no movement and no forces on the bone which are necessary to maintain a healthy bone.
By using electrical stimulation technology we can stimulate the paraplegic muscles and have people stand up and then exercise. We measure any changes in bone before starting the exercises and after months of weekly exercise in an effort to find how these exercises will help the bones.
To fully understand what parts of exercise and standing help, we use equipment such as force sensors and motion capture cameras which we couple with our in-house built electrical stimulation device. We have also created a video game which can be played during the exercising so that it is more enjoyable!
My Typical Day
Run experiments, fix any issues and create/improve new equipment, analyse data and write
A typical day would be taken mostly by experiments along with the admin work surrounding them, followed by fixing any issues that might arise or creating and improving any part of the equipment. The rest of the working day would be spend at either analysing data that we recorded from the experiments, or writing.
Writing is a big part of academic work schedule – this could be preparing papers that formally present our research, research grants and ideas for future funding, emails, news items on the project’s website, and many more (this text for example 🙂 )
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURE memory is:
When the explosions went off!
How does technology threaten your privacy?
With the internet of things, billions of devices are connected to the internet - not just computers any more but watches, and tvs, and even kettles... It is very easy now to upload something on the internet where anyone can access it. So, it is very important that we understand how each device can, or cannot, broadcast the information that we give it.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Fixing, breaking, programming.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
First time that we had a participant with paraplegia stand for an hour and exercise with our equipment. Not groundbreaking at all in terms of research but definitely the best moment I have witnessed.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My father was an engineer and I would always be inspired by how nothing seemed to be too complicated to be fixed.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I wanted to make robots. I am happy at how close I got that.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
I wasn't a model student, that's for sure!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
That would be Radiohead, followed by Soundgarden.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I once threw a party with friends where over 120 people turned up. Part of the preparation for that party included making a bbq big enough to feed everyone!
Tell us a joke.
What kind of sweet goes swinging through the jungle? - Tarzipan