Marius Umbrasas

What AS and A2's (or equivalent) did you study?

I took Mathematics, Physics, Lithuanian and English state exams before coming to Sheffield.

Why did you choose ACSE?

I was fascinated by robots and any automated machinery, therefore a course in Mechatronics seemed a clear choice. Furthermore, the ACSE department seemed to offer a very interesting syllabus as well. As I found out later, the knowledge I gained through my degree enables me to work in a variety of engineering fields. In fact, I cannot think of an industry in which I could not use something that I learned from the course. I am glad I chose to study in Sheffield within the department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering!

There are many engineering applications you can explore in the department, ranging from robotics to predicting the progression of a disease or learning about spacecrafts.

Marius Umbrasas

How did you decide on the bionic hand project?

Some years ago I watched an interesting TED talk, where electrodes where used to capture muscle signals from one volunteer and transfer them to another – effectively controlling the second volunteers hand. That made me realise that the human body is one complex electric circuit and that I wanted to use that concept in my final year project. I finally chose to design and build a bionic hand as my final year project not only because it was very practical and would use muscle signals but also because it had the potential to help people.

What was the purpose of your project?

To this day, researchers do not fully agree on the best methods for classifying muscles signals in order to control a prosthetic hand. Furthermore, actuated prosthetic hands typically cost thousands of pounds. Therefore, my project builds on the relevant research by verifying the results found and making new findings. These were then used to build an affordable prosthetic hand prototype. The hand itself has been 3D printed.

The final goal was to design and build a relatively low cost prosthetic hand prototype that could robustly classify a number of gestures in real time without any significant delay.

What was the most challenging aspect of your project?

Trying to use Machine Learning for the first time. Every project usually has that brick wall that has to be overcome and the rewarding feeling that comes after.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your project?

The ability to design and build the project fully with my own hands along with showing off my project at various university events.

What are your career plans?

I got offered a job as a Systems Engineer at an engineering consultancy company where I will be providing turn-key solutions to customers from many different industries. This is the exact type of work that I wanted to be doing as it will allow me to use the broad range of skills I acquired at university and will keep me on my toes.

What were your favourite things about ACSE?

There are many engineering applications you can explore in the department, ranging from robotics to predicting the progression of a disease or learning about spacecrafts and the process behind successfully launching them into space. This just shows how versatile the degrees offered by ACSE are. Also, all the staff in the department are really approachable and can give you guidance with any issue you might have, so that you never feel lost.

How will studying at ACSE help you in the future?

Having worked with a huge range of applications during my year in industry I found that there is a huge lack of in depth control engineering knowledge in many companies. Therefore, I believe my course helps me stand out when applying for jobs as there is no other university that I know of, offering such a control focused syllabus.

What is your favourite part of living in Sheffield?

It is a fairly large city and there is always something to do here, however at the same time it has a relaxing small town feel to it that I like, especially coming from a small town myself. Also, the cheap living costs are great for students.