Neuromechanical principles of gait and balance for assessing and improving human movement

All dates for this event occur in the past.

Scott Lab E141
201 W. 19th Avenue Columbus, OH 43210
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Seminar Speaker: Lena H. Ting, PhD

Professor and McCamish Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering, Emory and Georgia Tech

Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, Division of Physical Therapy, Emory University


Understanding neuromechanics can provide important insight into the development of technologies to analyze and improve human movement. I will discuss how our prior understanding of sensorimotor feedback and muscle coordination for balance and gait has led to 1)  the finding that exoskeletons need to react faster than humans in order to augment reactive balance control and 2) a data-driven approach for comparing individual differences in gait dynamics. 2) Wearable exoskeletons have the potential to enhance user balance following a disturbance by reacting faster than physiologically possible. However, ‘artificially fast’ balance-correcting exoskeleton torque may interfere with the user’s ensuing physiological responses, consequently hindering the overall reactive balance response. Here, we show that exoskeletons need to react faster than physiological responses to improve standing balance following postural perturbations. 2) While stroke survivors show different patterns of muscle coordination underlying similar clinical deficits, linking these deficits to movement patters has been challenging using musculosketal modeling We developed a data-driven and generative modeling approach that recapitulates the dynamical features of gait behaviors to enable more holistic and interpretable characterizations and comparisons of gait dynamics. Distinct from other studies, gait dynamics of multiple individuals are predicted by a dynamical model that defines a common, low-dimensional, latent space to compare group and individual differences.

Bio: Lena Ting is a Professor in the WH Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology. She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, and an MSE in Biomechanical Engineering and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Her postdoctoral training was in neurophysiology at the University of Paris V, and Oregon Health and Sciences University. Her research in neuromechanics focuses on the sensorimotor interactions among brain, body, and environment. Her work focuses on complex, whole body movements (such as walking and balance) with strong clinical relevance, as well as skilled movements involved in dance and sport. By drawing from neuroscience, biomechanics, rehabilitation, computation, robotics, and physiology, we have discovered exciting new principles of human movement. Using computational and experimental methods, Ting's work has revealed interactions between electrical neuromotor signals from the body with neural mechanisms and functional biomechanical outputs during normal and impaired movement. Her work forms a foundation that researchers around the world are using to understand normal and impaired movement control in humans and animals as well as to develop better robotic devices that interact with people.

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