Our primary focus in our research of biomechanics is how different systems are laid out to have different functions. Digging, running, walking, stalking, bouncing, and swinging are all potential gaits that 4-limbed animals can perform. Each of these unique locomotor solutions are dependent on the anatomy of the animal and are subject to millions of years of selection to hone what we see around us today and are evidenced in the fossils of organisms past.
Our custom gait lab is outfitted with 3D VICON motion capture cameras, AMTI force plates, and a CosMed metabolic cart for use with a treadmill. We specialize in mechanical cost analysis as a tool to distinguish gaits between groups of people, across different speeds, and/or the effect of different treatments (shoes, prosthetic devices, exoskeletons, etc.). MoveShelf provided hosting of our human gait data the interactive video player above
Robotics and Prosthetics
Our lab collaborates with mechanical, electrical, and software engineers to apply biomechanics principles to computer controlled devices and other robots. Our research influences the implementation of control algorithms, design constraints, and robotic operation to ascertain how we can apply what we learn onto machines that never existed or as a control strategy on already finished devices.
Recent Developments at the LoCB
More than one million people undergo an amputation on a lower limb each year – one every 30 seconds. More often than not, new patients are fit with prosthetics that may not be in tune with how they walked before surgery.
Integrative physiology Ph.D. student Michael Isaacs wants to help. “People have to compensate for their prosthesis, and doing so for the duration of their lives can cause more health problems,” said Isaacs. “If you give people a smart prosthetic that is adaptable, it will help them in the long term.”