Pitt | Swanson Engineering


Volker Musahl, MD

Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Associate Professor of Bioengineering
Associate Team Physician/Football University of Pittsburgh Athletic Department

Richard E. Debski, PhD

Associate Professor
William Kepler Whiteford Faculty Fellow
Departments of Bioengineering and Orthopaedic Surgery



For a listing of ORL meetings and events, please see the ORL Calendar.

Please click here for a copy of the 2014 ORL Undergraduate Research Abstract Book.


The OrthopaedicRobotics Laboratory was formed in 2012 as a collaborative effort between theDepartment of Orthopaedic Surgery in the School of Medicine (chairman Dr.Freddie H. Fu) and the Department of Bioengineering in the Swanson School ofEngineering (chairman Dr. Harvey S. Borovetz).

The mission of theORL is the prevention of degenerative joint disease by improving diagnostic,repair, and rehabilitation procedures for musculoskeletal injuries usingstate-of-the-art robotic technology. Thus, diarthrodial joint function will beelucidated and the roles of the bony and soft tissues assessed. The technologyin the laboratory includes novel robotic systems and the lab will serve as amulti-disciplinary CORE facility with collaboration promoted betweeninvestigators. Under the direction of Drs. Musahl and Debski, research fellows,medical students, graduate students and undergraduate students have the abilityto participate in research related to musculoskeletal injuries with emphasis onsoft tissue injuries at the knee and shoulder.


Robotic Technology 

The MJT Model FRS2010 is asix-axis test robot with a compact workspace and high stiffness. The hybridcontrol system that uses position and force feedback is quite robust and allowsa wide range of applications. Operators can modify every control parameter fortheir desired purpose. Thus, the MJT can be customized easily. Other advantages of the MJT Model FRS2010 are portability, low maintenance costs, universalprogramming language, and realistic loading conditions. This robotic technologycan also be used to examine the function of multiple joints such as the knee,glenohumeral joint, acromioclavicular joint, spine, elbow, hip and ankle.

These capabilities areenhanced by supporting equipment that can measure joint contact pressures;tissue deformations and forces during joint loading; and tissue properties. State-of-the-artfluoroscopy, ultrasound, and arthroscopy system are available. In addition, thelaboratory includes the Shoulder TestingApparatus r4 (STAR4) that allows simulation of muscle forces at the glenohumeraljoint and measures resulting motion and joint contact forces. Recently, thisdevice has been upgraded to include the capability to test knees.




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