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Biomechanics and Motor Control of Unsteady Locomotion, with Applications

Devin Jindrich
Department of Kinesiology Center for Adaptive Neural Systems
October 14, 2008

Abstract:

How we interact with the mechanical environment can help to explain many aspects of morphology, physiology and behavior. Devin Jindrich studies the biomechanics and control of locomotion and limb movements, and seeks to apply physiological and biomechanical principles to biomedical applications. Whereas simple mechanical models can describe important aspects of constant- speed forward locomotion, the mechanics and control of maneuvering (changing movement direction) or remaining stable (maintaining a desired movement direction) are less well understood. Consequently, Devin has studied the mechanisms used by insects, humans, and ostriches to maneuver and remain stable during rapid locomotion, towards developing a comparative framework for understanding maneuverability and stability.

The results of these experiments support the hypothesis that musculoskeletal design and physiology can simplify the control requirements for maneuvering and remaining stable. Biomechanics and kinesiology also make important contributions to improving motor function following injury. Assessing functional outcomes is critical to evaluating and refining emerging treatments for spinal cord injuries. Using rodent and primate animal models, Devin is using kinematic and biomechanical techniques to better understand spinal motor control, and to develop more effective therapies and technological interventions for restoring function following debilitating spinal cord injuries.

A paper entitled, "Quantifying Dynamic Stability and Maneuverability in Legged Locomotion (2002) by Robert Full, Timothy Kubos, John Schmitt, Philip Holmes and Daniel Koditschek is available below.


Readings and Diagrams for this Discussion:

Dynamic Stability (*.pdf)


Time and location:
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
3:30 - 5:00 pm
Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity
ISTB-1, Room 401