Examining Human Standing Balance Response with Independent Ankle Control

Standing balance is controlled by several inputs, including vision, vestibular sense, and ankle proprioception
Research studies in this field actively engage and manipulate these input mechanisms to examine their
effects on the balance output, mainly muscle actuation in the lower limbs. While significant progress has
been made, it is often difficult to isolate a single input and test its results on the output. The unique Robot
for Interactive Sensor Engagement and Rehabilitation (RISER) has been developed in the UBC CARIS
laboratory for controlling each sense independently to further our understanding of human balance control
and to present new possibilities for the control of bipedal robots [4]. We intend to use this system and the
strategies developed to help safely rehabilitate people who have lost the ability to balance.

For the MITACS Project, we propose that the student expand upon our research by: a) integrating our own
two axis ‘ankle-tilt’ system with the platform to control ankle angle in the sagittal plane, effectively
decoupling ankle proprioception from vestibular input; b) controlling the motion between the tilt-platform
and the Stewart platform in our existing LabVIEW program; c) performing a preliminary experiment to
move the ‘ankle-tilt’ system while holding the motion base steady, so that a blindfolded subject will
experience an ankle movement but no corresponding vestibular or visual stimulation; and d) refining our
mathematical human balance model as a result of the experiments.

Hina Shah
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Hendrik Van der Loos
British Columbia