Research Projects

The biomechatronics lab is involved in a number of projects. You will find some information on both current and past projects in the pages below.

The NU Interface

Samuel Wilson

What is a Natural User Interface? “The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of the everyday until they are indistinguishable from it.” A Natural User Interface is the name given to a method of interacting with a computer in a way that is natural to the user. In short, the user interacts with the computer using traditional methods of communication, such as speech or gestures. These ...

More Details

Quantifying symptoms of Parkinson

Paolo Angeles

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerate disorder that affects 1 in 500 people worldwide. Parkinson's disease occurs as a result of a death of nerve cell endings in the deep brain - specifically the subthalmic nucleus (STN) and the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi). A reduction in dopamine neurotranmitters occurs as a result which then lead to the movement disorders present from PD. Motor symptoms of PD include rigidity, tremor and bradykinesia. Rigidity occurs when limbs stiffen up unn ...

More Details

Motion-based Grasp Selection

Marcus Gardner

The loss of a hand provides a huge disability due to its high versatility and ability to manipulate objects with speed and accuracy. The development of myoelectric hand prosthesis has given amputees the opportunity to return to a degree of normality by giving the ability to grasp different objects and to carry out a multitude of day to day activities. Despite improvements in mechanical design, electronic components, battery life and weight reduction, underlying control strategies have not cha ...

More Details

Mechanomyography in powered knee prosthesis contro ...

Ashwin Needham

Industry focus has shifted in recent years to developing effective neural interfaces for people who wear lower limb prostheses. Traditionally leg joint systems have been designed to work independently of the user’s intent, interpreting their desires on their own with no direct user control. Whilst enabling technologies are nascent or theoretical at the current time, interim efforts have led to the use of biological myographic methods. Myoelectric or EMG systems are mature and have been ...

More Details

Neurological Dysfunction in Balance: an Integrated ...

James Clarke

This project centers on wearable instrumentation for studying the mechanisms of sensory-motor control as applied to human movement and neurological foundations of balance. The goal is to create an integrated system that will detect, fuse, and transmit sensor data from foot contact force, muscle action, and motion for pervasive monitoring, diagnostic assessment, and treatment of patients with neurological and/or movement dysfunction. ...

More Details

Quasi-Passive Human-Exoskeleton System Modelling

Christopher Caulcrick

The project, funded through an EPSRC Industrial Cooperative Award in Science & Technology (CASE) in partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT), involves virtually modelling human and exoskeleton together. Working closely with the modelling and simulation team at MAT, partially-passive human-exoskeleton systems are to be simulated for design and control optimisation. Quasi-Passive Exoskeletons Exoskeletons typically use multiple electric motor ...

More Details

Developing Novel Brain Robot Interfaces (BRI) to i ...

Thomas Martineau

  The Advent of Neuro-technologies Ever since Hodgkin and Huxley first described the firing dynamics of neurons in 1952, neuroscientists have been able to gradually map the inner circuitry of our brain and understand the complex modalities under which information is communicated and processed within neuronal layers. The digital revolution offered then an opportunity for both engineers and scientists to collaborate in the creation of new and exciting neuro ...

More Details

Condylar Joints for Walking Robots

Felix Russell

Research questions Can feedback from elastic ligaments in a condylar robotic joint be used in a controller to enhance joint function by improving positional accuracy, reducing stress in the mechanism, reducing energy consumption for walking or reducing the processing power required to maintain stability? How does this li ...

More Details

Mapping Lesion Profile to Motor Function

Lewis Formstone

Stroke is one of most common causes of death around the world, and constitutes one of the main causes of acquired adult disability. On top of this, improved healthcare has led to a falling stroke mortality rate, leading to a larger population of motor impaired survivors. Although not directly treatable, motor impairment may be reduced in patients following a course of targeted rehabilitation, and this now forms a major component of stroke treatment in the UK. A key component of rehabilitation ...

More Details

Morphing (Flying/Crawling) Robots

Richard Bachmann

While extensive work has been performed with regard micro air vehicles (MAVs), the additional constraints faced by a microrobot tasked with aerial and terrestrial locomotion has yet to be fully addressed.  Our team has developed a Morphing Micro A< ...

More Details

Amphibious Robots

Alexander Boxerbaum/ Matthew Kline

Research Synopsis The capability of robotic platforms to transition between locomotion modes in aquatic and terrestrial settings has yet to be achieved in robotics today. The study of animal locomotion mechanisms, cockroaches in particular, can provide specific inspiration to address these demands.&n ...

More Details

Insect Inspired Autonomy

Charles Williams

Animals must integrate large amounts of sensor information to orient movements, often in milliseconds, to survive.  Identical directives are faced by autonomous vehicles; particularly rapid assimilation of surroundings and real-time control.  Drawing upon biological studies of neural organization of the cockroach escape response, our laboratory has designed a biologically-inspired evasion/orientation reflex for autonomous vehicles, and tested it in application to autonomous aircraft ...

More Details

Rapidly Customizable Hand Exoskeleton

Thomas Burton

This project is investigating the use of robots for upper limb rehabilitation.  Specifically, it is exploring issues related to robotic rehabilitation for hand motor (grasping) function in patients suffering from neurological disorders (e.g. stroke).  We are exploring biomechanical robot design based on anatomy of the hand, compliant (muscle-like) actuation for robotic rehabilitation mechanisms, adaptive control to augment neural learning, and robot autonomy for use outside of contr ...

More Details