George Nikolakopoulus, Lars Nyberg, Annika Naslund and Thomas Gustafsson. Missing from the photo is Irene Vikman and Ulrik Röijezon. Photo: Emma Bergstrom Wuolo

4.8 million for collaborative

Published: 14 November 2014

The Swedish Research Council has decided to provide 4.8 million swedish kronor to a collaborative project between researchers in physiotherapy and Control Engineering at Luleå university of technology. The project involves mobility, fear of falling, mathematics and robotics.

– 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.

Plug

Annika Näslund, Senior Lecturer

Phone: +46 (0)920 493216
Organisation: Physiotherapy, Health and Rehabilitation, Department of Health Sciences
George Nikolakopoulos

George Nikolakopoulos, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 491298
Organisation: Control Engineering, Signals and Systems, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering
Irene Vikman

Irene Vikman, Senior Lecturer, Head of Education degree in Physiotherapy

Phone: +46 (0)920 493892
Organisation: Physiotherapy, Health and Rehabilitation, Department of Health Sciences
Lars Nyberg

Lars Nyberg, Head of Subject, Chaired Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 493926
Organisation: Physiotherapy, Health and Rehabilitation, Department of Health Sciences
Thomas Gustafsson

Thomas Gustafsson, Head of Subject, Chaired Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 491323
Organisation: Control Engineering, Signals and Systems, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering
Ulrik Röijezon

Ulrik Röijezon, Associate Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 492987
Organisation: Physiotherapy, Health and Rehabilitation, Department of Health Sciences