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Translating Biomechanical Insights into Mobility-Enhancing Assistive Technology

Lecture

Mobility is livelihood. Regardless of a person’s age, profession or interests, the ability to traverse one’s world is critical. However, over 30 million Americans live with physical disabilities or neurological impairments that jeopardize their mobility and quality of life. The goal of the Biomechanics & Assistive Technology lab at Vanderbilt University is to improve mobility for individuals with disabilities and to enhance human capabilities beyond natural biological limits, by developing assistive devices that better interface with the human body and augment movement, and creating tools that better quantify human performance. We are particularly interested in fundamental biomechanical mechanisms underlying legged locomotion and how these principles can translate to improvements in assistive technologies such as prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons.

Topics discussed in this seminar include: historical and contemporary challenges to understanding the biomechanics of human locomotion, how biomechanical insights have motivated advances in the design of lower-limb prostheses, and recent advances in how we physically integrate/couple technology (prostheses, exoskeletons, co-robots) with the human body to augment mobility.

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