Biomechanics & Motor Control of Human Movement

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Research unit Biomechanics and Motor Control of Human Movement


This unit consists of two complementary research units that investigate the performance, training and learning of motor skills in daily life situations and sports. Our research targets individuals of all ages and physical abilities and involves both laboratory and field testing.

The research unit for Biomechanics of Human Movement performs human movement analyses by combining kinematic and kinetic measurements, often in combination with electromyography. Through a better understanding of the neuromechanical interaction of the moving body and the environment, we answer questions related to the optimization of learning processes, (sports)performance, and musculoskeletal loading. A first research line, locomotion biomechanics, focuses on modulation of impact loading in distance running, determinants of gait transition, and player-shoe-surface interactions. Secondly, locomotion related injury risk factors are determined and translated to broader intervention studies on primary prevention of sports injuries. A third line of research uses exoskeletons to assist walking in able-bodied as well as impaired individuals.  Finally, we perform sports biomechanical analysis in situ, e.g. on elite high jumping.

The research unit for Motor Control of Human Movement seeks to better understand processes involved in the development and control of skilful human behavior. Our research involves the detailed study of motor competence in order to reveal the intrinsic (individual) and extrinsic (environmental) factors explaining differences in competence. To unravel the mechanisms of human motor control and the role of sensory information (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) we study human movement and gaze patterns during different motor tasks while manipulating sensory feedback. Our target populations include children with obesity, children with movement disorders, typically developing children and elite athletes. With our research evidence we aim to optimize motor learning of complex skills (e.g. bicycle riding) and to support elite sports clubs and federations with structured talent identification.

Our complementary research infrastructure is embedded in a 260m² laboratory allowing to study three dimensional kinematics and kinetics of gross motor skills without any encumbrance. The specialist measurement systems possess high spatial and temporal resolutions: marker-based motion capture systems (Qualisys Oqus and ProReflex),  markerless motion capture with automated visual analysis, high speed video cameras, ground reaction force registration with multiple force plates  (Kistler, AMTI), high speed plantar pressure plates (RSscan), force-instrumented and inclinable split belt treadmill (Bertec), wireless electromyography (16 channel Noraxon), and various force, acceleration and inertial sensors. Specialist software is used for modeling and inverse dynamics (Visual 3D). For research on issues such as anticipation and decision-making we have a life-size video screen, head-mounted and head-free eye tracking systems (SMI RED, SMI HED). In most research topics also morphometrical measurements are used: from segment anthropometrics  to whole body composition.



  • Contact information

    Research Group Biomechanics & Motor Control
    Watersportlaan 2
    9000 Gent
    tel. 09 264 63 27