Research Projects

The biomechatronics lab is involved in a number of projects. You will find some information on both current and past projects in the pages below.

Muscle Sounds in Gesture Recognition

Samuel Wilson

Muscle Sounds in Gesture Recognition for Prosthetic Control and Robot Teleoperation This project focuses on creating a multifunctional control system based on Mechanomyography (MMG). MMG is the term given to the microvibrations which are generated during a muscle contraction. By placing microphones on the surface of t ...

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Quantifying symptoms of Parkinson

Paolo Angeles

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerate disorder that affects 1 in 500 people worldwide. Parkinson's disease occurs as a result of a death of nerve cell endings in the deep brain - specifically the subthalmic nucleus (STN) and the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi). A reduction in dopamine neurotranmitters occurs as a result which then lead to the movement disorders present from PD. Motor symptoms of PD include rigidity, tremor and bradykinesia. Rigidity occurs when limbs stiffen up unn ...

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Motion-based Grasp Selection

Marcus Gardner

The loss of a hand provides a huge disability due to its high versatility and ability to manipulate objects with speed and accuracy. The development of myoelectric hand prosthesis has given amputees the opportunity to return to a degree of normality by giving the ability to grasp different objects and to carry out a multitude of day to day activities. Despite improvements in mechanical design, electronic components, battery life and weight reduction, underlying control strategies have not cha ...

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Sensory Motor Interface for Lower Extremity Robots ...

Ashwin Needham, Filip Pascal Paszkiewicz, Samuel Wilson

Muscle action in limbs holds significant potential as an input for enhanced control of robotic legs.  However reliable signal capture remains a significant barrier to patient use.  Many studies have proposed augmenting control of prosthetic legs through the use of EMG, but this has not translated due to issues related to maintaining an electrical connection to skin in the harsh environment within prosthetic leg sockets.  We have developed an array of sensors to measure gait dyn ...

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Neurological Dysfunction in Balance: an Integrated ...

James Clarke

This project centers on wearable instrumentation for studying the mechanisms of sensory-motor control as applied to human movement and neurological foundations of balance. The goal is to create an integrated system that will detect, fuse, and transmit sensor data from foot contact force, muscle action, and motion for pervasive monitoring, diagnostic assessment, and treatment of patients with neurological and/or movement dysfunction. ...

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Unilateral Exoskeleton for Post-stroke Gait Rehabi ...

Christopher Caulcrick

The project, funded through an EPSRC Industrial Cooperative Award in Science & Technology (CASE) in partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies (MAT), involves virtually modelling human and exoskeleton together. Working closely with the modelling and decision sciences team at McLaren, exoskeleton systems and controllers are modelled, optimised and experimentally validated. ...

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Investigating novel forms of brain machine interfa ...

Thomas Martineau

Deep Brain Stimulation and Local Field Potential Deep Brain Stimulation (or DBS) has become in recent years a very effective and common treatment which significantly alleviates Parkinsonian motor symptoms. The treatment consists in delivering short pulses of current to the neural pathways affected by the disease (more precisely located in the basal ganglia) by the means of invasive electrodes. The DBS procedure also offers the opportunity to record, post operatively, ...

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Condylar Joints for Walking Robots

Felix Russell

Research questions Can feedback from elastic ligaments in a condylar robotic joint be used in a controller to enhance joint function by improving positional accuracy, reducing stress in the mechanism, reducing energy consumption for walking or reducing the processing power required to maintain stability? How does ...

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Stroke Lesion Symptom Mapping

Lewis Formstone

Stroke is one of most common causes of death around the world, and constitutes one of the main causes of acquired adult disability. On top of this, improved healthcare has led to a falling stroke mortality rate, leading to a larger population of motor impaired survivors. Although not directly treatable, motor impairment may be reduced in patients following a course of targeted rehabilitation, and this now forms a major component of stroke treatment in the UK. A key component of rehabilitation ...

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Morphing (Flying/Crawling) Robots

Richard Bachmann

While extensive work has been performed with regard micro air vehicles (MAVs), the additional constraints faced by a microrobot tasked with aerial and terrestrial locomotion has yet to be fully addressed.  Our team has developed a Morphing Micro A< ...

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Amphibious Robots

Alexander Boxerbaum/ Matthew Kline

Research Synopsis The capability of robotic platforms to transition between locomotion modes in aquatic and terrestrial settings has yet to be achieved in robotics today. The study of animal locomotion mechanisms, cockroaches in particular, can provide specific inspiration to address these demands.&n ...

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Insect Inspired Autonomy

Charles Williams

Animals must integrate large amounts of sensor information to orient movements, often in milliseconds, to survive.  Identical directives are faced by autonomous vehicles; particularly rapid assimilation of surroundings and real-time control.  Drawing upon biological studies of neural organization of the cockroach escape response, our laboratory has designed a biologically-inspired evasion/orientation reflex for autonomous vehicles, and tested it in application to autonomous aircraft ...

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Rapidly Customizable Hand Exoskeleton

Thomas Burton

This project is investigating the use of robots for upper limb rehabilitation.  Specifically, it is exploring issues related to robotic rehabilitation for hand motor (grasping) function in patients suffering from neurological disorders (e.g. stroke).  We are exploring biomechanical robot design based on anatomy of the hand, compliant (muscle-like) actuation for robotic rehabilitation mechanisms, adaptive control to augment neural learning, and robot autonomy for use outside of contr ...

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Emotional Robotics

Daniel Bazo/Richard Craig

It is now well-accepted that for a robot to interact effectively with humans, it should manifest some form of believable behaviour establishing appropriate social expectations and regulating interaction.  We are working with the Bristol Robotics Laboraotory (BRL) to introduce a simplified robotic system capable of emotial (affective) human-robot communication without the complexity of full facial actuation, and to empirically assess human response to that rob ...

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MMARK

Alexander Wolff

The aim of MMARK was to provide a team of physiotherapy researchers in Southampton University with an integrated system capable of reliably recording upper-limb motion and associated muscle activity.  The primary responsibilty of Imperial College's Biomechatronics lab was to provide with the sensing technology, and process the data into useable forms. Each unit was composed of a chip containing inertial sensors (3-axis: Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magento ...

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A Robotic Model to Investigate Knee Joint Dynamics

This project aims to investigate the roll of the cruciate ligaments in healthy joint function. The investigation will take place using an anthropomorphic mechanical model of the human knee. As far as is possible the geometries and elasticity of the elements within the joint have been taken from measurements and imaging of humans. The model includes compliant cruciate ligaments, smooth joint surfaces (condyles) and a knee cap (patella). In addition, the joint is actuated by pneumatic cylinders ...

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