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dferris43
11-27-2001, 09:12 AM
POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH POSITION
University of Michigan Human Neuromechanics Laboratory
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~ferrisdp/UMHNL.html

Starting date: sometime between Jan. 1, 2002 and June 1, 2002.
Duration: Funding goes until Dec. 31, 2003 (with satisfactory progress
during the first year) but there is potential for longer duration of
support with additional funding.
Salary: ~$27,000 per year plus benefits
Desired qualifications: biomechanics, motor control, mechanical
engineering, biomedical engineering, or physical therapy background

Project: A POWERED LOWER LIMB EXOSKELETON TO ASSIST LOCOMOTOR TRAINING
Funding Source: Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
Locomotor training can greatly improve walking ability in humans
with spinal cord injury. When therapists provide manual assistance to
spinal cord injured individuals as they step on a treadmill,
locomotor-related sensory feedback promotes task specific motor learning
and facilitates gait rehabilitation. Major drawbacks of locomotor training
are that it is labor intensive and variable from therapist to therapist.
We propose to build a powered exoskeleton that can act as a tool to aid
therapists in locomotor training. The exoskeleton would enable the
therapist to provide appropriate stepping movements without undue physical
exertion and would facilitate consistent stepping practice while monitoring
patient progress. The exoskeleton will be a pneumatically powered
hip-knee-ankle-foot orthosis (HKAFO) constructed from carbon fiber and
titanium fittings so that it will be light enough to aid locomotor training
without being cumbersome. We hypothesize that a powered exoskeleton can
provide locomotor training that is similar to locomotor training with
manual assistance. To test this hypothesis, we will build exoskeletons for
spinal cord injury subjects and compare stepping kinematics and muscle
activation patterns during locomotor training with the exoskeleton and
during locomotor training with manual assistance. We will test two control
methods for the exoskeleton. The first control method, proportional
myoelectrical control, will effectively amplify the strength of a spinal
cord injury subject. The second control method, artificial neural
oscillators, will enable the exoskeleton to adapt to each subject's
capabilities and automatically decrease powered assistance as a subject's
walking ability improves. In addition to developing improved technology
for gait rehabilitation, this project will also provide clinical
researchers with new tools for studying the scientific basis of
neurorehabilitation after spinal cord injury.

Please contact Dan Ferris at ferrisdp@umich.edu for more information.
This position is open until filled.

_______________________________
Dan Ferris, Ph.D.
Human Neuromechanics Laboratory
Department of Movement Science
University of Michigan
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~ferrisdp/

mailing address:
Dan Ferris
Division of Kinesiology
401 Washtenaw Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2214

e-mail: ferrisdp@umich.edu
phone: (734) 647-6878
fax: (734) 936-1925
_______________________________

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