College of Kinesiology

Biomechanics Lab

The main aim of the research conducted in the Biomechanics of Balance and Movement Lab is to characterize and understand how the musculoskeletal system works to create and control motion.  Studies conducted in the lab look at patterns of muscle and joint loading during gait, sport and activities of daily living and examine how these patterns change under different conditions.  Research is performed with the goal of understanding the factors that affect the control of movement and balance.

The central feature of the Biomechanics of Balance and Movement Lab is a large, 30 square metre data collection space.  Full, three-dimensional kinematics can be recorded within the lab space using our 8 camera Vicon motion capture system, which tracks small reflective spheres placed on people or objects.

Ground reaction forces during movement or balance testing are recorded with two AMTI OR6-7 force platforms embedded into the lab floor.  These platforms can be moved to different locations within the lab to test different types of movements like walking or jumping.

The lab also has an 8-channel telemetered electromyography (EMG) system from Noraxon.  This system allows for unencumbered movement during which muscle activity can be recorded.  The lab also has a number of force transducers which can be connected to the telemetry system for portable force measurement applications.

Kinematic, force and EMG data can be collected simultaneously via a 64-channel analog-to-digital data acquisition system that is run through the Vicon NEXUS software.

The Biomechanics of Balance and Movement Lab space is equipped with a ceiling mounted track system which connects to mobile safety harnesses.  This allows for the safe investigation of situations with balance challenges.

Other equipment in the lab includes a six piece 3D inertial sensor system (OPAL, ADPM Inc) for mobile kinematic assessment, an array of video and still cameras, and uni-axial high-g accelerometers.

The lab has several high-end computer workstations for data processing and computational modelling.  Software used for data analysis includes Visual3D, OpenSim and Matlab.