Research in the UW BADGER Lab aims to understand the mechanisms of physical impairment after orthopedic and neurological injury. We use this knowledge to develop devices and protocols that improve assessment, promote rehabilitation, and/or provide assistance.
Lower-limb prosthetic devices are developing rapidly, from passive, springlike feet to bionic, human-interactive robotic ankles. We seek to develop a new class of ankle-foot devices that retains the benefits of passive systems (low weight, height, complexity, and cost) while adding simple robotic features that improve versatility and adaptability across tasks.
The power of robotic therapy is the ability to specify novel tasks that encourage patients to relearn proper motor patterns, while preventing harmful compensatory movements. We are developing robotic exercise equipment that can deliver adaptive, high-dose therapy targeting patient-specific motor impairments following injury. The initial focus of this work is on neuro-rehabilitation of lower-limb control following stroke.
Development of devices and therapies requires a strong theoretical framework that addresses the links between neural and biomechanical performance in movement. We study a variety of topics in locomotion neuromechanics, including: metabolic energy expenditure during locomotion and exercise; biomechanical loading and joint coordination; control of balance and balance recovery; mechanisms and consequences of impairment; dynamic properties of the human biomechanical system; and responses to therapies and assistive devices.