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We examine the application of Virtual Prototyping (VP) methodology to study, evaluate, and refine human-machines interactions. VP refers to functional simulation, quantitative performance analysis, and iterative refinement of products and processes in a virtual environment. The principal benefits accrue from the capacity for rapid quantitative and computational exploration of numerous “what–if” design scenarios at relatively low cost.

 

Specific initiatives underway using this musculsoskeletal analysis framework include optimization of rehabilitation programs, exoskeleton design, and bipedal locomotion.  

 

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  Current Active Research Work

Simulation-Based Design of Exoskeletons Using Musculoskeletal Analysis

In this work, we present the use of musculoskeletal analysis for designing an upper-limb exoskeleton. Four different case studies are performed to study the effect of using a simplified exoskeleton on the muscle loading for arm curl with dumbbell. The simulation results showed that with the use of exoskeleton significant reductions in both, individual muscle forces and elbow flexion moment are achievable. The results also showed that the exoskeleton applied-torque synchronization with the required torque is important for the performance of the device....

Musculoskeletal Simulation-based Optimization of Rehabilitation Program

Rehabilitation is a complex multifaceted process with complexity and variability that depends not only on human patients and/or specialized equipment but also on the nature of their functional interaction. Rapid and effective customization of the functional interactions between the patient and the rehabilitation device thus becomes critical for any rehabilitation program. Two principal dimensions govern the effectiveness of such functional interactions: geometric placement of user-device (ergonomics) and exercise selection and performance (regimen). We discuss aspects of creation of a Virtual Design Environment, leveraging tools from musculoskeletal analysis, optimization, and simulation-based design, which will permit a therapist to rapidly evaluate and systematically customize various candidate rehabilitation programs.   ...

Musculoskeletal Simulation-based Parametric Study of Optimal Gait Frequency in Biped Locomotion

Researchers have hypothesized that animal locomotory patterns seen are consistent with the resonant frequencies endowed by their musculoskeletal structures. Further it is posited that systems succeed in minimizing their energy expenditure by moving at this resonant frequency. We choose to systematically study this hypothesis in the specific context of bipedal locomotion. Researchers have sought to correlate the preferred strike frequency with the resonant frequencies of the model or used indirect measurement such as oxygen consumption, electromyography (EMG) to assess expended effort. ...

 

Previous Work

The Vertebrate Analyzer: A Simulator to Analyze Form, Function, and Behavior of Extant and Extinct Vertebrates

with AC2ME, CRESE and Gross Anatomy Lab

Currently, we can model form and emulate behavior of extant and extinct vertebrates, but the potential to create and analyze these models to investigate relationships among form, function, and behavior is less developed. ...

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Last Updated: August 28, 2010