The Biodynamics Laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art motion capture devices (Certus OptoTrak and Vicon), electromyography sensors - EMG (Bagnoli Delsys), and force plates (AMTI). The laboratory is also equipped with equipment that allows the study of gait, gait initiation, balance recovery, quiet standing, and upper and lower strength tests. The laboratory is also equipped with an extensive MATLAB function database that allows nonlinear and linear time series analysis, mechanical modeling of the human body, principal component analysis, and machine learning.
Dr. Luchies (director) has experience in the analysis of healthy subjects across the health span, as well as persons with diseases such as Parkinson's and Stroke. In addition, he has collaborated with faculty from multiple departments at KU, such as Neurology, Physiology, Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, and Electrical Engineering.
The mission of the Biodynamics Laboratory is to investigate and understand the biomechanics and motor control of human movement during balance tasks such as walking, balance recovery, quiet standing, among others. For example, one goal is the development of postural instability tests and algorithms that could help doctors assess balance deficiency using objective methods that are both specific and sensitive. Recently (Spring 2018 to now), the Biodynamics Laboratory has focused on understanding the changes on balance due to the loss of sensation at the feet, as well as on developing low-cost medical devices that could enhance people's sensation at the feet, thus improving their balance.
Balance deficiency is a phenomenon that increases naturally in humans as they age; however, it can increase at a faster pace if neurological or musculoskeletal diseases are present. Balance deficiency's consequences are: reduction of physical activity and quality of life, and increment of fall risk and falls (among others). Falls can change a person's life significantly (e.g. fear of walking/standing, or acute pain in bones due to broken bones that did not heal well), or be lethal. That is why the Biodynamics Laboratory's goal is to develop better balance deficiency assessment techniques, so falls can be prevented. Side Note: in the United States of America in 2006, 0.2 and 19 billion dollars were used to treat fatal and non-fatal falls in old adults (≥ 65 years old).