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Biomechanical Engineering

 

At HMRC, state of the art 3D motion analysis equipment is used to investigate orthopedic problems such as osteoarthritis of the knee, the development and clinical evaluation of devices, and the effects of surgical and non-surgical interventions.

Motion or gait analysis offers a unique means to measure the mechanical factors of joint loading, orientation, and neuromuscular function during activities of daily living such as walking. 

 

The core technology for this analysis is the motion capture system.  In the figure to the left, optoelectronic cameras are used to measure the three-dimensional location of targets fastened to the lower limb.

By tracking targets on each limb segment of the lower limb, joint angles at the knee, hip and ankle can be measured.

An instrumented force platform is used to measure the magnitude, direction, and location of the ground reaction force.  Two force platforms (one under each foot) can be seen in the figure. Combining the ground reaction forces, with the limb segment motion data provides the basis for calculating joint loading (net reaction moments and forces).  These data are used to quantify the gait pattern.

 

Osteoarthritis is a common age-related impairment that can cause pain and physical disability.

 

The knee is the most frequently involved joint associated with disability.  OA is associated with substantial individual and societal costs.  This disease occurs worldwide, and is a major cause of pain and disability in the elderly.

The pathomechanics of this disease are not well understood, nor are the causes for it to progress more rapidly in some individuals than others.  However, the mechanical environment of the knee joint plays a critical role.

Motion analysis allows researchers to examine the mechanical factors of knee osteoarthritis, so that they may better understand the causes of this disease and are able to provide effective treatments to slow or stop the disease progression.

 

 

The Human Mobility Research Laboratory is located in the Hotel Dieu Hospital. The laboratory fosters interdisciplinary collaborations between engineering, orthopaedics, and rehabilitation that are essential to the focus and innovation of research and translation of knowledge into clinically important applications.  For more information about this facility please click here.