Pitt | Swanson Engineering

Our laboratory is a full gait analysis facility specifically designed to conduct locomotion studies related to postural control but also capable of capturing small finger movements involved in typing. Three dimensional motions and foot forces as well as electromyographic data can be collected during walking or other daily tasks including activities such as stopping, turning, multitasking, etc. Our eight meter vinyl tile walkway is instrumented with an 14-camera Vicon motion capture system, 2 Bertec force plates, digital camcorders and an overhead harness safety system. Also, we are equipped with a 16 channel Noraxon electromyography system, a 64 channel Delsys electromyography and accelerometer system, a Biodex strength machine, a Biolog heart rate and skin conductance monitor. The motion data is collected and synchronized with ground reaction forces sampled and other biomechanical data. Thus, this system allows the collection of all gait variables required to provide a complete description of whole body biomechanics. Motion capture is possible on our level walkway, uneven walkway, ramp, uneven ramp, or stairs. We are also able elicit perturbations of slips, stumbles, and trips on the uneven walkway.


Vicon Motion Capture System
  • 14 Vicon MX cameras capable of collecting position data at 120 Hz
  • Captures 3-D position data using UV reflections off of bony landmarks of the body
  • Calculate joint angles, moments, and other parameters of interest
Bertec Force Plates
  • Similar to a bathroom scale; measures forces in the orthogonal and shear directions
  • Calculates moments and center of pressure using 6 force transducers
  • Two force plates are embedded in the level walkway and one can be embedded into the ramp or stairs, etc.
  • Force plate data collected at 1080 Hz
Solo-Step Harness System
  • Custom-designed system that allows research participants to safely traverse an area of 28' x 40'
  • The overhead trolley is designed to roll effortlessly through the track to allow the user to control the speed and direction of movement
  • Designed not to create inertia that would affect the research participants' gait
Equitest System
  • The Equitest from NeuroCom provides objective assessment of balance control and postural stability under dynamic test conditions designed to reflect the challenges of daily life
  • The EquiTest includes the full battery of tests that comprise Computerized Dynamic Posturography
  • The system provides assessment capabilities on either a stable or unstable support surface and in a stable or dynamic visual environment
  • The system utilizes a dynamic 18" x 18" dual forceplate with rotation and translation capabilities to measure the vertical forces exerted by the patient's feet and a moveable visual surround
Noraxon EMG System
  • Determine muscle activation using surface electrodes
  • Isolate muscle groups
  • Helpful to determine activation patterns for slipping/tripping
Delsys EMG and Accelerometer System
  • 16 electrode/accelerometers collect data wirelessly
  • Accelerometers can collect accelerations in the x-, y-, and z-directions
  • EMG can determine muscle activation during slipping/tripping
Biodex Strength Machine
  • Determines torque exerted by isolated muscle groups
  • Can be used to isolate quadriceps, hamstring, dorsiflexor, or upper body muscle groups
  • Modified rehabilitation instrumentation used for isometric training
Biolog Monitor
  • Monitors heart rate
  • Measures skin conductance
StepWatch Activity Monitor (Orthocare Innovations)
  • The StepWatch system offers researchers and clinicians a highly accurate means for recording, documenting, and assessing a subject's gait.
  • The patented StepWatch monitors and records continuously the number of steps per time interval over extended monitoring periods.
  • StepWatch provides clinicians and researchers with an objective means to: measure outcomes, document physical activity, objectively assess function, track patient progress, determine patient compliance, and compare therapeutic interventions.
Heart Rate Monitor (Oregon Scientific)
  • Heart rate watch with basic heart rate measurement and calories burned features.
  • The included chest belt transmitter is worn comfortable against the skin.
  • The chest belt picks up the heart signals, and sends them wirelessly to the watch.
  • The watch unit receives and shows heart rate signal.
FSA Pressure Mapping System for Seating
  • Uses piezoelectric sensors arranged in an array to record pressure distributions over the seat and back of a chair
Load Cell
  • Can be attached to the overhead harness to measure any weight applied to the harness
  • Data can be used to classify severity of slips

Not Pictured:

Natural Point Motion Capture
  • 8-camera tracking system
  • Ethernet based motion capture
  • Smaller system than Vicon - allows for use in smaller room with treadmill
Flock of Birds
  • Magnetic tracking system
  • Uses magnetic fields to determine 3-dimensional position and orientation of objects of interest
3-Axis Motion Platform
  • An electromechanical motion platform that can produce yaw, pitch, and heave movement with a 2000-pound load
Logitech Ultrasonic Headtracker
  • Uses ultrasonic transmitters and receivers to calculate 6DOF spatial location of a sensor
Comet-Plus EEG
  • A 20-sensor EEG system from Grass Technologies
Neurokinetics VOG system
  • Dual camera, head mounted, eye-tracking system
Anthropometry kit
  • Several calipers of different sizes to measure different anthropometric attributes
Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation
Lactic Acid Measurement