The lab is equipped with a camera system from Qualisys AB to analyse three-dimensional (3D) movements. The camera system allows very accurate measurements by the cameras detecting small round markers, reflectors, attached to the body, or the object, to be assessed.
A force plate (Kistler Inc.) is recessed into the floor and is used for, e.g., measurement of forces during various activities and assessment of balance control.
Wireless electromyographic (EMG) equipment (Noraxon Inc.) is used for measurement of muscle activity. EMG measurements are used for assessment of neuromuscular functions such as amplitude and coordination of muscle activity within and between muscles, and muscle fatique.
Synchronized measurements can be done by simultaneous measurements of 3D motion, forces and muscle activity for in-depth biomechanical analyses of different movements and motor skills.
Walkway for gait analysis
In the motion laboratory we have an electronic walkway (CIR Systems Inc. / GAITRite) containing a large number of small pressure sensors to enable imaging of electronic footprints. The walkway can be used for gait analysis by measurement of the temporal and spatial characteristics of gait, i.e. properties such as e.g. walking speed and distance between the foot steps.
For visual imaging of body tissue, we have an ultrasound scanner (SonoSite Inc.). Via the ultrasound scanner we can visually analyze tissues such as muscles, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, etc.
The motion lab in education
Various teaching and learning activities in biomechanics, motor control and motor learning takes place in the motion lab both at basic and advanced levels. The motion lab is also used in projects at all levels, from undergraduate to master's and doctoral level.
Examples of teaching and learning activities involving the lab:
- Ultrasound scanner is used to study tissues within courses involving examination and treatment of joints, muscles and nerves.
- The camera system for 3D motion and the force plate are used courses in biomechanics, e.g, for gait analysis and assessment of balance control
- EMG is used for assessment of muscle activity and work load during different activities and work situations in courses involving ergonomics.
- In addition, we have courses involving clinical methods for assessments and training of motor control, for example, focusing on proprioception and neuromuscular coordination of various body parts and joints.
Research on movements and motor control
Current projects involving assessment of movements and motor control include, e.g., motor control in sports such as weight lifting and fly casting, and among musicians; assessment and training of motor control in musculoskeletal pain disorders; gait analysis on a slippery surface; postural control and fall risk among elderly and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary Disease (COPD); and robotics. We are also running projects involving innovation and development of new methods for objective assessments and training of motor control.
The motion lab is an important facility for education and research at HLT, especially within Physiotherapy, but also within courses and projects at other institutions, such as courses in ergonomic at the Department of Technical Design at ETS, and in research projects on robotics at SRT, LTU.
The Movement Science Lab is an essential part of the multidisciplinary Working Group on Motor Control and Biomechanics at the LTU, see link below.
The Working Group on Motor Control and Biomechanics includes researchers and lecturers at, e.g., the Department of Health , Learning and Technology (HLT), Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering (SRT). A motion lab has been developed also at SRT (The FROSTLab) used for both indoors and outdoors motion analyses, mainly specializing in robotics and full-size vehicles, but also in collaborative research involving human movement control. The FROSTLab includes, e.g., a 3D camera system (Vicon Ltd.) with a total of 20 cameras.
The motion lab is under continuous development and right now we are developing methods for interference (perturbation) of motor control. For example perturbation of balance control in various ways, and development of humanoid (anthropomorphic robot) to increase knowledge about the physiological mechanisms behind normal and impaired motor control.
The Human Health and Performance Lab - Movement Science has been possible to build and developed due to generous grants and support from the Kempe Foundation and Luleå University Lab fund.