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IATSL develops assistive technology that is adaptive, flexible, and intelligent, enabling users to participate fully in their daily lives. Learn more about our research

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Stefanie Blain

Photo of Stefanie BlainPhD Candidate

Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences & the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering
(University of Toronto)

(416) 425-6220 ext. 3260


Stefanie received her undergraduate degree in the Engineering Science program at the University of Toronto, specializing in biomedical engineering. Through her undergraduate work, she was introduced to the field of paediatric rehabilitation engineering; her honours thesis involved the design and implementation of an assistive technology that detected swallowing safety in children with dysphagia.

In 2005, she embarked on a PhD in the field of access technologies, investigating a means for children without the ability to move or speak to interact with their environment. Specifically, her research investigates peripheral autonomic physiological signals as they relate to mental state and emotion. She has studied the ability for mental activities to voluntarily control physiological states, used physiological signals to determine the effect of arts-based interventions in a rehabilitation setting (for example: the Therapeutic Clowns at Bloorview Kids Rehab), and developed pilot training programs to teach an individual with severe disabilities to control his electrodermal activity. Stefanie’s research interests also include the relationship between music and physiological states, and music as a medium of interaction between individuals of all levels of ability.

Teaching Assistantships

CHE393F:  Biotransport Phenomena (2005-07 [class of 0T7, 0T8, 0T9])

A course for 3rd year undergraduate engineering science students covering the fundamentals of momentum, heat and mass transfer. Topics include mass, linear momentum and energy balances: Differential analysis of laminar viscous flow, heat conduction and diffusion, and convective transport. Examples from environmental and biomedical systems are discussed.

MIE439F:  Biomechanics (2006 – 2007 [class of 0T7, 0T8, 0T9])

A course for 4th year engineering science and mechanical engineering students that involves the application of the principles of mechanical engineering – principally solid mechanics, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics – to living systems. Topics include cellular mechanics, blood rheology, respiratory and circulatory mechanics, musculoskeletal mechanics, and locomotion.

Other Interests

Shad Valley - summer program in engineering, science and entrepreneurship for high school students.  I'm currently a staff member at the Waterloo University campus.

Bloorview Kids Rehab – I currently volunteer with the children on the Complex Continuing Care ward, doing homework and therapeutic recreation activities. 

Selected Recent Publications

Blain, S., McKeever, P., Chau, T. (in press, 2009). Bedside Computer Access for an Individual with Severe and Multiple Disabilities: A Case Study. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology.

Blain, S., Chau, T., Mihailidis, A. (2008). Peripheral Autonomic Signals as Access Pathways for Individuals with Severe Disabilities: A Literature Appraisal. The Open Rehabilitation Journal, 1, p. 27-37.

Blain, S., Mihailidis, A., and Chau, T. (2008). “Assessing the Potential of Electrodermal Activity as an Alternative Access Pathway.” Medical Engineering and Physics, 30(4), 498-505.

Tai, K., Blain, S., Chau, T. (2008). A review of access technologies for individuals with severe motor impairments. Assistive Technology, 20(4), 204-219.

Lee, J., Blain, S., Casas, M., Kenny, D., Berall, G., Chau, T. (2006). A Radial Basis Classifier for the Automatic Detection of Aspiration in Children. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 3(14), 3-14.