BiomechanicsBiomechanics is the study of animal movement from a mechanical perspective. The field includes cellular mechanics, muscle behavior, material properties of skin, tissue and bone, macro-level analyses of joint motions and gross behaviors like locomotion, reaching and prehension. The principles of rigid-body mechanics, fluid mechanics, continuum mechanics, dynamical systems and optimization theory form the theoretical basis of biomechanics. Typical measurements are forces and displacements of the components of the system under scrutiny. 

Our group is currently involved in bipedal locomotion, reaching and grasping in healthy and pathological behavior.

Understanding manual dexterity

Dexterity is motor wisdom: the organization and application of a lifetime of experience in movement. It is the highest achievement of the motor system, and it consists in the judicious use of strength, coordination, sensation, and attention to execute demanding motor tasks. Naturally, dexterity is also highly susceptible to systemic disturbances. We all fumble with […] Read More

Identifying the behavior that results in tripping over a stationary, visible obstacle.

Our team has been examining the rare trials (approximately 1% of all trials) where the participant perceived a stationary, visible obstacle and attempted to clear the obstacle, but tripped on the obstacle. Inadvertent failures are typically discarded as there are too few observations, but we have developed a methodology to assess these failures. This research […] Read More

Determining the frequency and circumstances of falls across the lifespan.

Falls have serious and debilitating consequences for all ages. While there is extensive research on falls in older adults, falls in other age groups are understudied. Our research demonstrates that even young healthy adults have a high fall and injury rate, and that most falls occurred while the participants were simply walking. This observation highlights […] Read More

Identifying the role of the task, the environment, and the individual in shaping locomotor behavior.

Historically, locomotion research focused on walking over flat ground at constant speed, which did not capture the complex adaptations that are required in order to traverse typical, cluttered environments. Our research has demonstrated that locomotor control is primarily implemented proactively, rather than reactively. These proactive adaptations are based on the visually observable properties of the […] Read More

Development of an active balance board to induce instabilities in order to reveal mechanisms of postural control.

This paradigm examines the coupling between human balance and an external dynamical system. This coupled system, with time delays and nonlinearities, is ideal to study the emergence of complex postural behavior and unanticipated interactions between the individual, task, and the external dynamical system. We expect that the active balance board will improve diagnoses and rehabilitation […] Read More

Development of a gait and balance assessment device, SmartGait™

It is important to identify and apply interventions to those at greatest risk of falling. SmartGait™ is a wearable balance and gait assessment device that can be operated by any individual in order to assess their balance and gait on a regular basis. The device was developed to be inexpensive and easy-to-use, in order to […] Read More