Falls and Mobility Research Laboratory

KAAP Biomechanics Lab & Equipment

Our laboratory resides in the Health Sciences Complex on the UD STAR Campus. This 1896 square foot space allows for a large capture volume when recording human motion, includes a private changing space for participants, and is outfitted with an overhead rail spanning the length of the room, supporting a safety harness. Adjacent laboratories are connected with large doors to allow for studies that require considerable motion, such as those with running or prolonged walking protocols.

This laboratory has 12 high-speed/resolution cameras as part of a 3D motion capture system (Qualisys). At a rate of 120 Hz or higher, the system automatically digitizes the location of markers placed on the body and then calculates the 3-D coordinates of each marker. A digital camera is synced with the motion system so that we can make recordings to be used in presentations and manuscripts. Three force plates (Advanced Mechanical Technology, Inc.) are embedded into the floor to allow for analyses of standing postural sway or the ground-reaction forces that occur during walking. A 16-channel wireless electromyography system (EMG; Delsys, Inc.) enables us to simultaneously record muscles about the lower extremities, upper extremities, and trunk. A computer-controlled treadmill (Simbex, Inc.) allows us to simulate trips and slips as subjects stand or walk, with acceleration capabilities large enough to induce falls in healthy young adults. An overhead rail spans the length of the room, supporting a safety harness instrumented with a force transducer (Dillon EDx).

A DXA scanner (Hologic) used for participant screening is available in the adjacent nurse-managed health center. Outside the laboratory, we measure physical activity using activity monitors (Actigraph, Fitbit). We track fall circumstances, orientations, and impacts using custom questionnaires via mail, computer, or mobile phone (Qualtrics). All graduate students are equipped with a desk and computer within the laboratory.