Current Projects

Design of a Cane for Balance and Gait

Team:

James Chagdes (Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering)
Amit Shukla (Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering)
Joao Freire (Student, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering)

Recent mathematical models of human posture have been explored to better understand the space of control parameters that result in stable upright balance. These models have demonstrated that there are two types of instabilities – a leaning instability and an instability leading to excessive oscillation. While these models provide insight into the stability of upright bipedal stance, they are not sufficient for individuals that require the aid of assistive technologies, such as a passive-cane or a walker. Without a valid model one is unable to understand the control parameters required for maintain upright posture or if similar instabilities even exist when assistive technologies are used. Therefore, in this study, we developed a mathematical model of human posture while using a passive-cane to examine the nonlinear dynamics of stance. This study will enable design of a better cane for use in balance and gait.