Human Neuromechanics Laboratory

“The Human Neuromechanics Laboratory focuses on the control, energetics, and mechanics of human locomotion. We study how people adapt to robotic exoskeletons and bionic prostheses with the intent of improving technologies for rehabilitation. A recent accomplishment of the lab is the ability to perform mobile brain imaging during walking and running.”
Dr. Dan Ferris, Director and Professor of Movement Science

Human Neuromechanics Laboratory


CCRB 1206A
401 Washtenaw Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2214
(734) 615-1711
(734) 936-1925



Pneumatically powered lower limb exoskeletons

We build robotic lower limb orthoses powered by artificial pneumatic muscles (i.e. McKibben muscles) and controlled by myoelectrical signals to determine how they affect human walking dynamics.

Myoelectric control of lower limb prostheses

Robotic lower limb prostheses require active volitional control approaches in order to increase their function during human movement. We are using surface electromyography to demonstrate that it is feasible to actively control the mechanics of the prostheses. The long-term goal is to use miniature intramuscular electrodes that transmit control signals through the skin to the socket interface.

Ambulatory neuroergonomics

How does your brain function differently when you are walking or running compared to sitting down? We are studying how locomotion affects cognitive processes using motion capture, biomechanical analyses, and high-density electroencephalography. The goal is to provide insight into brain function when you perform common everyday tasks that require active mobility.

Electrical neuroimaging of brain processes during human gait

There is an important clinical need to develop functional imaging techniques that can quantify brain processes during human locomotion and relate them to body dynamics. Mobile brain imaging could assist with the diagnosis and treatment of patients with numerous movement disorders and neurological injuries. We propose that Independent Component Analysis of high-density electroencephalography (EEG) can quantify distinct brain processes involved in the control of human gait. Furthermore, we contend that electrocortical brain processes identified using Independent Component Analysis of EEG correlate with whole body dynamics. The results from theses studies will advance our understanding of electrocortical dynamics related to the control of human walking, and will lead to new studies probing mechanisms of neurological gait impairments. The findings could also facilitate new brain-machine interface technologies for controlling robotic orthoses or prostheses.