Biomechanics and Motor Control Laboratory

We all understand how to move, we just don't understand how we move....

Biomechanics is the study of movement through the application of mechanical principles. Our lab takes this a step further to understand not just biomechanics but also motor control. Motor control is the study of how the nervous system now integrates and interacts with the physical world to produce smooth and coordinated movement.

This laboratory is dedicated to understanding human movement. Although walking seems very simple, it is actually very complicated. We have many different muscles controlling many different joints and all of this is being coordinated by our nervous system.  Understanding why we chose these particular patterns allows us to understand the motor behavior fundamentals which, in turn, allows us to predict what a person will do when a portion of their body is lost, e.g. amputation, or compromised, e.g. stroke. This knowledge then empowers us to build the best prosthetic limb, rehabilitation plan, or orthotic device for these individuals.

We use a variety of instruments to study biomechanics and motor control. These typically involve recording

  1. Body kinematics (location and angle of major body parts) 
  2. Body kinetics (the forces between the body and the environment)
  3. Muscle activity (when a muscle is on or off) 

We use this in combination with a variety of mathematical techniques to understand the loads placed on individual joints, how the different muscles were activated to overcome those loads, and why the person chose to coordinate their muscles and joints in this particular way.

The research in this lab is generally focused on one of three topics

  1. Define how people with an amputation or neurological injury use their remaining motor system, interface with a prosthetic or orthotic device, and use this device for movement.
  2. Explain how people can improve performance in sports while minimizing the risk of injury
  3. Define how the human nervous, muscular, skeletal systems interact to solve Bernstein's problem of motor redundancy

Congratulations to our students (now graduates) 

Drs. Lindsey Landreneau and Kayla Watts for winning the Barney LeVeau Research Award

L&K award.jpg

Their work was on neuromuscular adaptation to forefoot running technique.

Check Out Our Halloween Thriller

This video was filmed to explore the animation features with our Vicon motion capture system while having a good time for Halloween. We now use these same features to help teach biomechanics.

Be sure to check out the ASU_Biomechanics YouTube channel for more.