Fighting to Walk Again

Author: Office of Strategic Content

Standard 2x 2

James Schmiedeler, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of Notre Dame, builds and conducts research with biped robots. As it turns out, both humans and robots face similar walking challenges. Walking involves something called negative work, when the muscles contract in the presence of a resistant force, causing the muscle to elongate. 

Schmiedeler is now collaborating with researchers at the NeuroRecovery Network at The Ohio State University, including D. Michele Basso, professor and director of research at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. To start, Schmiedeler worked with OSU on research that evaluated young, healthy subjects walking on a treadmill. Those findings directly informed Schmiedeler’s efforts to improve the design and control of the biped robots in his lab. Together, Schmiedeler and OSU are now utilizing these same principles as a way to understand the difficulties humans experience when relearning to walk after incomplete spinal cord injury.

Learn more here.