Jasmine Proud returned to study engineering to find her purpose. It was during her work placement that she realised her true calling – to research the development of assistive technology that truly helps humanity, from disability support to injury prevention.
"For many years I worked as a graphic designer. I loved the creativity but felt that there was some missing element to my life. It took me a while but I figured out what it was…the ability to make a genuine impact on people's lives. Around this time I discovered the world of wearable robotics and this became a passion that has fed into my current research.
During my engineering degree I completed work placements at 2Mar Robotics, where I developed my love of robotics, and at Enable Development, where I learnt about tech-based solutions to accessibility problems faced by people with disabilities.
My approach is to flip the idea of traditional engineering. Rather than fitting people around the design, I take a human-first approach.
VU offered me some great opportunities, like participating in a study tour at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, being named the most outstanding student for my first year, and receiving the Dean's Scholar Award for my masters.
My masters research was dedicated to wearable robotics, which supports people with disabilities to be more independent.
I am now pleased to be undertaking my PhD, designing smart, wearable devices that can predict and prevent future injury or disability. My project is co-sponsored by the Defence, Science and Technology Group, and VU's Institute of Health and Sport. Its applications will be universal for any industry that uses manual handling – from defence to warehousing."