A 3D computerized avatar capable of showing emotion and a robotic forearm are two University of Illinois projects that received funding Friday for their innovations in healthcare.

A University of Illinois research team working on personalized computer-generated avatars for patients, and another developing a robotic arm that can differentiate between abnormal muscle tone behaviors, both received nearly $50,00o from Jump ARCHES, a joint venture between Jump Trading Simulation & Education Center and the College of Engineering at Illinois.

The initiative, announced in the spring of 2014, is designed to bring doctors and engineers together to solve problems in healthcare through the creation of new devices and technologies.

The 3D avatar, created by Dr. Ann Willemsen-Dunlap and Dr. Thomas Huang, is an online tool to help patients better understand medical information like test results. The audio-visual avatar is capable of showing the appropriate emotion when giving patients medical guidance.

The robotic arm is a training tool to help students diagnose different brain lesions by differentiating between abnormal muscle tone behaviors. Created by Dr. Elizabeth Hsiao-Wecksler, Dr. Steven Tippett, and Dr. Martin Morris, the device can help diagnose conditions like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis.

“Partnering clinicians with engineers already has opened so many new doors to what’s possible,” Dr. John Vozenilek, Medical Director at Jump said in a statement.

Public domain image via Beyond My Ken