College of Health
Research activities in neuromechanics are conducted in two laboratory spaces. Faculty and students in neuromechanics are able to use both of these spaces and the research equipment they house.
The Biomechanics Laboratory is a 2000 square-foot, multi-purpose research space located on the ground floor of the Women’s Building. It includes an open data collection area with adequate dimensions (35’ x 25’ x 12’) for studying a wide variety of activities, with attached workspaces for strength testing, data analysis, and device fabrication/storage.
Located across the hallway is a second, 600 square-foot laboratory space used for sensorimotor testing and data analysis.
The research equipment within these laboratories encompasses a full array of tools for the study of neuromechanics, including:
- Vicon 9-camera optical motion capture system
- Three Bertec force platforms with multiple mounting configurations
- Noraxon 16-channel telemetered electromyography system
- Biopac electromyography system
- Instrumented, ceiling-mounted safety harness system
- Biodex System 3 Isokinetic Dynamometer
- Neurocom Smart Balance Master
- Multiple Biopac data collection systems
- Grass S88 Stimulators
- Motion Monitor data collection and analysis system
- AnyBody biomechanical modeling software
- Computers with data acquisition, control, and data analysis capabilities
Research in neuromechanics at OSU currently focuses on clinical and ergonomic applications of biomechanics and motor control, with an emphasis on injury prevention. Both experimental and modeling approaches are used.
Research projects of the faculty and their associated graduate students generally fall into one of the following areas:
Prevention of lower extremity injury
Lower extremity injuries commonly occur during physical activity, with significant joint injuries negatively impacting long-term joint health. We conduct laboratory-based studies in which we investigate the relationships between movement patterns that are associated with greater injury risk and modifiable factors such as explosive strength and fatigue resistance. We also work to improve population health by focusing on increasing the implementation of best practices and injury prevention programs in the community.
Understanding and preventing falls and fall-related fractures
Falls and fall-related fractures are serious health concerns in older adults. We are therefore studying the influence of neuromechanical factors, such as gait patterns, protective stepping, and muscle strength, on the loss and recovery of balance. We are also studying the biomechanics of exercise-based interventions against osteoporosis.
Safer transfers of people with mobility disabilities
To travel by aircraft or automobile, many people with mobility disabilities must transfer between a wheelchair and a vehicle seat. We are conducting research aimed at reducing the risks of injury during these transfers, with particular focus on risk factors for back injury to those assisting with the transfer.
Collaborative research has also been conducted with OSU students and faculty in Adaptive Physical Activity, the Skeletal Biology Laboratory, Public Health, the National Center for Accessible Transportation, and Mechanical Engineering.
Past and current research projects have been supported by agencies that include the U.S. Department of Education (NIDRR), the National Institutes of Health, National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation, and the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, as well as through the OSU Research Office, College of Public Health and Human Sciences, and Center for Healthy Aging Research.
Our research results have been disseminated though numerous publications and at the national conferences of such organizations as the American Society of Biomechanics, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.