Temple women’s soccer goalie helps create prosthetic hand

Morgan Basileo is the head electrician on a prosthetic hand project with a former teammate.

Senior electrical engineering major and women’s soccer goalkeeper Morgan Basileo holds a myoelectric prosthetic hand at the College of Engineering on Monday. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

After her first engineering course at Temple, Morgan Basileo knew she wanted to specialize in electrical and computer engineering. 

Basileo, a senior electrical engineering major and goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team, has worked on a team of students to create a myoelectric prosthetic hand since last spring. Myoelectric prosthetics rely on electrical signals generated by a person’s muscles, according to Ottobock, a German-based prosthetics company.

The prosthesis has sensors on the forearm that would simulate the same movements as fingers would, allowing the prosthetic hand to move naturally, Basileo said. 

Basileo was approached by former teammate Morgan Rollins, a junior bioengineering major, about the project. Rollins had previously worked on another prosthetic project. 

“After being on the team with [Rollins] and connecting with her in the engineering department, she wanted to go forward with another project,” Basileo said. “So we got me and her and a few other students including other student-athletes.”

Rollins thought of Basileo right away when she started building a team for the new project, Rollins said.

“I 100 percent wanted [Basileo] on,” Rollins said. “She was interested, so I said right there, we can work on it together. She’s been really helpful because I’m not good at electronics, and she’s an electrical engineer.” 

Basileo worked mainly on the hand’s motors and on coding to help it move, she said. 

Basileo has engineering interests outside her work with Rollins, and has worked on additional electrical engineering projects.

Through her coursework, Basileo has connected with John Helferty, an associate professor in the electrical engineering department. 

Helferty taught Basileo since her freshman year and helped her get an internship with PPL Electric Utilities in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She accepted an entry-level position with PPL after she graduates, she said.

Basileo is the lead electrician in a project led by Helferty to design a payload for approval by NASA.

“Every year I need somebody that’s extremely responsible and that’s going to make sure that this payload is going to be able to get on that rocket,” Helferty said. “That’s why Morgan is on this thing. I expect it to be ready and approved. She’s my lead, she’s my go-to-person.”

On the field, Basileo has performed well this season, despite the team’s overall struggles. Basileo has recorded two shutouts this season with one coming against Delaware State on Sunday, Oct. 27. Basileo has compiled 117 total saves for the Owls in 18 games this season. She leads the AAC in saves with 49 in conference matchups.

“I think in school it’s easy to just be focused on doing your homework and, and obviously with soccer, just playing soccer,” Basileo said. “So having a project where I can apply what I’m actually learning in class and also connecting with other people in a group setting to work on different goals is really nice.” 

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