#WeAreInternational blog: Vignesh Velmurugan


Some of the brightest minds from around the world come to the UK to study.

Alliance Universities are proudly international. We firmly believe our international students make a vital contribution to the collective strength of the UK’s universities and its economy, helping to cement the UK’s position on the world’s stage.

Therefore, it has been hugely concerning to hear recent reports that the Home Secretary is considering imposing restrictions on those from abroad who wish to study here.

Unwelcoming language and policies do nothing to grow the UK economy, research impact, or our cultural diversity.

These are individuals with real lives, with immeasurable talent to offer to our country – we should always welcome them with open arms.

In our latest series of blogs, we are profiling the international students who enrich our Alliance Universities with their talent and generosity.


Helping stroke survivors through robotics project – Vignesh Velmurugan



Vignesh Velmurugan grew up in Chennai, India, where he completed his bachelor’s degree in engineering before pursuing an ERASMUS+ funded master’s programme in Europe, studying in both France and Poland.

He then applied to join the University of Hertfordshire to continue his research in medical robotics, where is currently studying for a PhD.

“I have always been interested in the application of tech in healthcare, so after my master’s I was looking to get into research in medical robotics. I came across Dr. Farshid Amirabdollahian’s offer for a PhD studentship to work on exactly that.

“He has been involved in a lot of exciting research on assistive robotics and human robot interaction; hence, I felt that this is the right place to explore the world of rehabilitation robotics. That’s why I chose to move to Herts and to the UK – it being an English-speaking country and its love for cricket were a bonus!”

Vignesh’s work focuses on designing and developing a smart, home-based hand and wrist rehabilitation device for stroke survivors. The WiGlove allows the user to train their hand and wrist, and features sensors that help the user and clinicians to follow their progress, even remotely.

Feedback from studies so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and the device is continuing to undergo user testing: “We hope that this will further inform and refine the design of WiGlove, to make it an invaluable companion to therapists, allowing them to monitor and supervise progress of more stroke survivors who can train independently at home. With increasing incidences of strokes, this has the potential to alleviate stress on healthcare professionals – and would be a very useful tool when social distancing is required, as during the pandemic, where traditional one-to-one therapy becomes difficult”.

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