Biomechatronics, Assistive Devices, Gait Engineering, and Rehabilitation Laboratory

Kieran Nichols


PhD Candidate – Mechanical Engineering
UW BADGER Lab Member: June 2017 – Present

B.S. – Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University
M.S. – Kinesiology and Mechanical Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

In the BADGER Lab, Kieran works on investigating the functionalities of the Variable Stiffness Foot (VSF) and Two Axis aDaptable Ankle (TADA) using the tools of motion capture with passive reflective markers, Xsens inertial measurement units, IPECS load cell, and force plates.  His broader interests are in prosthetic design/control in human walking.

Kieran’s work on the VSF resulted in producing the manuscript “Sensitivity of Lower-Limb Joint Mechanics to Prosthetic Forefoot Stiffness with a Variable Stiffness Foot in Level-Ground Walking” (in-review).  He is focusing his PhD on the developing and testing of the TADA’s software controllers with a focus on implementing the control laws of Toe-lift control, Anticipatory Slope-Targeting control, and Moment-Targeting control.

Prior to joining the lab, Kieran did his Master’s work through the UW’s Neuromuscular Coordination Lab, where he investigated frequency dependent force characteristics in human standing.  He also helped teach Introduction to Biomechanics in the Kinesiology Department.  Following the completion of his PhD, Kieran plans to work in robotics or prosthetics research and development.

In his free time, Kieran is involved in the UW Gymnastics Club.  He also enjoys cooking and parkouring.

Projects and Presentations:

Journal Articles:

  • McGeehan, Michael A., Peter G. Adamczyk, Kieran M. Nichols, and Michael E. Hahn. “A computational gait model with a below-knee amputation and a semi-active variable-stiffness foot prosthesis.” Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 143, no. 12 (2021).
  • McGeehan, Michael A., Peter G. Adamczyk, Kieran M. Nichols, and Michael E. Hahn. “A Reduced-Order Computational Model of a Semi-Active Variable-Stiffness Foot Prosthesis.” Journal of Biomechanical Engineering 143, no. 7 (2021).
  • Boehm, Wendy L., Kieran M. Nichols, and Kreg G. Gruben. “Frequency-dependent contributions of sagittal-plane foot force to upright human standing.” Journal of biomechanics 83 (2019): 305-309.
  • Nichols, Kieran Marc. “The Characterization of Foot Force Vector Control in Human Standing”. Dissertation. University of Wisconsin–Madison (2016).

Patent Application:

Gruben, Kreg George, Wendy Lee Boehm, and Kieran Marc Nichols. “Apparatus for Assessing Human Balance Capability.” U.S. Patent Application No. 15/354,254.