Center for Biomechanical & Rehabilitation Engineering, CBRE
The CBRE lab is focused on studying human mobility (including balance, posture and gait) for unimpaired as well as impaired populations. The lab, which opened in Fall 2015, is a state-of the art research and education space equipped with the following:
- A Tekscan Walkway System used to measure individual’s ground reaction forces needed to assess standing balance and gait
- A Vicon Motion Capture System, used to measure subject’s body kinematics/movements
- A NaviGAITor system for subject partial body-weight support and safety from falls; The NaviGAITor at UDC is one of only two that exists nationwide
- A Delsys surface electromyography (or sEMG) used to measure muscle activity/response to determine postural strategies/muscle synergies
- Open Bionics prosthetic hand for upper limb amputees
The Walkway system is used to measure footplate force and pressure data needed to assess standing balance and gait. The system includes an 8-foot walkway (equipped with force sensors) and Tekscan software. The software assesses patient movements by generating gait tables (e.g., velocity, steps/min, cadence), raw force data, video, footplate pressure mapping, and other data.
The Vicon motion capture system is an infrared marker-tracking system that utilizes ten cameras around the perimeter of the capture volume. The equipment is outfitted with infrared (IR) optical filters, IR light emitting diodes (LEDs), and a set of reflective markers. The reflective markers are arranged on the body of the subject, and reflect the IR radiation emitted by the LEDs. The Vicon software system is equipped to interact with the camera automatically. The software then processes the images taken from the cameras to construct a three-dimensional representation of the markers. This allows for images, videos, and kinematic analysis of the human subjects during movements (e.g., standing balance and gait). The system is shown below.
The NaviGAITor is an ambulatory suspension and rehabilitation apparatus developed by Devdas Shetty (Dean of SEAS). This relatively new device is being used for both clinical and research applications. UDC is home to 1 of only 2 NaviGAITor systems that exist nationwide. The NaviGAITor system (shown below) can be used in physical therapy and treatment for patients with muscle weakness, and neurological or musculoskeletal injuries and diseases. This system enables exercise and allows movement training in all three planes of motion without risk of injury due to falls. The operation of the entire system can be directed manually or automatically.
- Top: Vicon Motion Capture (cameras on tripods) and NaviGAITor system (yellow gantry); Bottom: Subject using the Vicon markers, Tekscan Forceplate Walkway and NaviGAITor system (left) & Vicon Motion Capture software (right)
The CBRE Lab is equipped with a wireless Delsys surface Electromyography (sEMG) system (shown below). Surface EMG is a non-invasive technique for evaluating and recording the electrical activity of skeletal muscles. Surface EMG assesses muscle function by recording muscle activity from the skin surface above the muscle. The EMG signals can be analyzed to detect muscle activation level and synergies, which allows interpretation the biomechanics of human posture.
- Top: Delsys sEMG system with 16 wireless electrodes (left), sEMG data acquisition software (right); Bottom: Application of sEMG sensor on muscle of interest (left), electrical activity, and tri-directional accelerations, of the muscle (right)
The Open Bionics, Inc. prosthetic hand is a 3D printed hand that is controlled by actuators, which move each individual finger. For control of the prosthetic, robotic hand, an Arduino programming environment and ATMEGA 2650 microcontroller are used.
- Open bionics robotic prosthetic hand
PHAS Generation 1 Prototype
The Portable Harness Ambulatory System (PHAS) Generation 1 Prototype was constructed from a design produced by UDC’s Mechanical Engineering faculty and students. The main concept behind the PHAS Generation 1 was to allow user to operate the device on their own (e.g., to lift oneself from a seated position, such as wheelchair to standing position). The purpose of this prototype is to aid individuals who suffer from balance impairments by enabling them to exercise in their home environment.