– It's great that we got such good impact at the Swedish Research Council, where the competition is fierce. But also that our collaboration within the group for mobility control and biomechanics has resulted in such a creative and well-founded research idea, says Lars Nyberg, professor of physical therapy.
Robot test theories
The project will investigate how the falls and fear or anxiety of falls can be reduced. This is done by finding more knowledge about risk prediction and ability to prevent falls and fear of falling, for example with the help of a robot model. A robot model, who are based on the function of human motion, provides new opportunities to study the effects of various conditions for balance control and testing various motor control theories.
The study includes about 40 elderly volunteers who get their balance control explored in a movement laboratory. A robot will be built to test the theoretical models, and can also be manipulated by changing the control system.
Increased understanding of the human motor
Control engineering algorithms will be developed and tested on the robot and validated against findings in the volunteers.
– This way, we can increase our understanding of how balance control works and how it is disrupted by the disabilities associated with old age, says Lars Nyberg.
– The humans is superior to today's robots when it comes to mobility skills and balance. By developing mathematical models for human mobility skills, we can increase our knowledge of how we can design and control robots, says Thomas Gustafsson, professor of control engineering.
The project includes Lars Nyberg, Ulrik Röijezon, Irene Vikman and Annika Naslund, researchers in physical therapy, and Thomas Gustafsson and George Nikolakopoulus, researchers in control theory.