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Control of Balance under Challenging Conditions

Control of Balance under Challenging Conditions

In daily life it is critical to maintain balance, both in standing, walking and other poses. While trained humans, like ballet dancers or gymnasts, can achieve astonishing balancing performance, frail individuals use a cane or a walker to reduce the risk of falling. What are the mechanisms by which the CNS can control our balance in such unstable conditions? To understand neuromotor control of human balance, we examine whole-body kinematics and ground reaction forces of humans standing or walking on a narrow beam. Our research has examined the high-dimensional patterns in angular momentum of the body segments and how unimpaired individuals maintain balance with support by canes, rigid footwear or by other humans. Analyses of magnitude and direction of ground reaction forces teased apart relative contributions of biomechanics and control.

Affiliated Faculty: Dagmar Sternad

02/24/21 – BOSTON, MA – Students test medical protective gear using robots in the ISEC building on Feb 24, 2021. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

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