Human Neuromechanical Control and Learning - BE9-MHNCL
This course will provide a comprehensive and rigorous treatment of the control of human movement from the perspective of both adaptation of the neural control system and adaptation of properties of the mechanical plant, incorporating approaches from physiology, engineering and computational neuroscience. Failure to consider both neural and mechanical contributions to observed behaviour can lead to erroneous conclusions. For instance, one finds examples in the literature where effects of dynamics and muscle mechanics are wrongly attributed to neural control. This is why we and others have developed a synthesis of musculoskeletal biomechanics and neural control over the past 30 years, which we call Human Robotics. Why this name? We use the framework of robotics to understand the control problems that are being solved by the human motor system, and the insights gained by this approach lead to more versatile robots with human-like capabilities.
This course will present a comprehensive approach to understanding human motor control beginning with muscles and progressing in a logical manner to behaviour, where modelling is based on evidence from published experiments, employing a method reminiscent of physics. We will first study muscle mechanics and the properties of their sensory receptors; then pass to the mechanics of one-joint systems such as wrist flexion/extension while integrating feedback control from simple reflexes; then extend these principles to the multi-joint multi-muscle system, considering the coupled and nonlinear dynamics of the redundant musculoskeletal system; then treat motion control and planning, including motor learning during adaptation to novel dynamic environments, integrating novel computational theories based on robotics and stochastic control. The course will include several applications of the modelling, from flexible control in robotics to neurorehabilitation.
Human Centred Design of Assistive and Rehabilitation Devices - BE3-HHCARD
The ageing population and the wish to improve life quality, as well as the economic pressure to work longer, require the development of intuitive and efficient assistive and rehabilitation devices. Rehabilitation technology illustrates the paradigm for emergent systems to work with humans. As exemplified by the iPhone, the success of such systems depends on an intuitive interface, an attractive design and game-like applications.
In this course, engineering students will learn to design rehabilitation systems and assistive devices, integrating mechatronics, human factors and computer games:
- through lectures given by experts in these topics;
- by developing a complete system for rehabilitation or assistance;
- by collaborating with students of complementary background;
- by competing against other groups to develop “the best system”.
The first part of this course will consist of lectures introducing the basis in the topics necessary to develop rehabilitation devices and games. Groups of students of different backgrounds will then be formed, that will develop an assistive device or a therapeutic game. They will also test the functioning of their system on other students. The last session will consist of a “competition”, in which the systems developed will be presented to the whole class and assessed by the other groups and the lecturers.