Our Facilities & Equipment
Our new lab creates room-sized virtual reality environments using custom built, high-resolution, stereoscopic projections. By manipulating these environments researchers examine walking patterns related to reduced stability. The lab supports pioneering work helping patients who suffer from cerebral palsy, those living with balance disorders including Parkinson’s disease, individuals with the loss of inner ear (vestibular) function, elderly individuals at risk of falling and athletes with concussion.
Visual Cave and Locomotion
The COBAL lab is equipped with a fully instrumented, split-belt treadmill that captures forces, moments, and center of pressure during walking. A high resolution projector streams a visual scene on a rounded display to allow for a smooth, realistic visual flow while walking. The treadmill also has a self-paced mode. This works through a networking between the Vicon motion capture system and the treadmill.
Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation
For the vestibular sensory perturbation,6 linear isolated stimulators (Biopac Systems, Inc., Goleta, California, USA) are used as galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) and functional electrical muscle stimulation. Each isolated stimulators is driven by dedicated analog input signals developed in labview and delivered through a national instruments data acquisition board.
Qualisys Motion Capture
The CoBaL lab incorporates a 12 camera motion capture system (2 MP, 340 FPS), provided by Qualisys, and acquired and processed through Qualisys Track Manager (2.5). The cameras are secured to the perimeter of the virtual reality display along the scaffolding to provide non-occluded views of all biomechanical markers.
Proprioceptive muscle perturbation, bilateral vibration of Achilles tendons, for example is delivered through 20 mm vibrator motors, driven at vibration frequencies within the range 60-100 Hz and 1 mm amplitude displacement. The drive signals for the stimulation are generated from a custom H-brdige circuit with control through labview. The vibrators are enclosed in a hollow rectangular 3d printed container (3.5×3.8×3.5 cm) with a flexible recessed surface mounted on the contact face for comfortable fitting around the belly of a muscle.
Delsys Trigno IMU System
This EMG system is mostly used for collecting electrical signals as a result of muscle contraction and nerve impulses. The sensors also allow for the collection of accelerations, and rotations of the segments in which they are applied.
Custom Software in LabVIEW and Matlab
The COBAL lab incorporates the use of custom software in National Instruments’ LabVIEW and Mathworks’ Matlab for instrumentation management and control, data processing and analysis. From these platforms we create novel solutions to manage our lab’s protocols.