Passive dynamics during a fall

Title: Passive dynamics during a fall

We have recently observed that the hands passively swing in the opposite direction of a fall for few milliseconds before a strong balance restoring swing reflex is generated. Does this mean that the brain uses passive dynamics during a fall to compute a balance-restoring reflex? To further understand this phenomenon, students will collect data from blindfolded human participants when they are gently pushed at random intervals. The human participants will wear EMG sensors and MTx motion trackers on the arm (you will be given these sensors). Then raw MTx motion tracker data and EMG data from the upper limbs will be analyzed to understand whether the passive dynamics prior to the reflex movement have any specific information that can predict the subsequent EMG patterns. If so, these findings can be used in future wearable devices to assist balance restoring reflexes.

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